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White House inactive on attack dangers

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WASHINGTON – The United States now is facing two serious national security challenges, but they aren’t expected to be addressed effectively because of the serious budgetary headaches Congress has created, and a virtually deadlocked legislature on just about every issue pending, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

And the White House apparently isn’t paying attention.

The first is the growing concern of the impact that an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, event – either natural or manmade – could have on the national grid system, on which the Department of Defense has a 99 percent dependency.

The other concern emanates from a new warning by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that the U.S. could face a mass disruption of “catastrophic proportions” from a “cyber Pearl Harbor” on the nation’s telecommunications, financial institutions and even the national grid.

The concern about cyber warfare on critical infrastructures, which depend on the national grid, is similar to the oft-repeated but mostly unheeded warnings to date from experts and even a congressional commission about the cascading effect of an EMP attack which could fry unprotected electronics and shut down systems that use them.

These include not only the electric power of a vulnerable national grid system but also telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, petroleum and natural gas, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space programs.

In addition, such a threat includes a shutdown of automated control systems called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, systems that control virtually every large section of American industry and commerce.

SCADA monitor operations of such critical systems nationwide as utilities, telecommunications, water management and oil and gas pipelines, for example, operate automatically without human intervention.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, charged with responding to national catastrophes, still hasn’t included an EMP event as one of its 15 National Planning Scenarios, or NPS – even though it is well aware of the impact of an EMP on the nation’s critical infrastructures.

The National Planning Scenarios provide the DHS with priorities on how to proceed in the event of a national emergency.

Yet, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Academy of Sciences have confirmed to WND/G2Bulletin that the nation could face what is termed a solar storm maximum which scientists and experts say is expected between now and 2014, at the peak of the sun’s latest 11-year cycle.

The prospect of a solar storm maximum is the most immediate EMP threat. There also is a man-made EMP threat from the explosion of a high altitude nuclear weapon above some of the nation’s most populated areas.

Given the more immediate threat of an intense solar storm, however, NASA says it could result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people, at a cost of from $1 trillion to $2 trillion during the first year alone, with a recovery time taking anywhere from four to 10 years.

“The biggest failure is in the White House with the president,” one congressional source recently told WND/G2Bulletin.

“Even though Obama personally is concerned about the natural EMP threat from a great geomagnetic storm, he has failed to show personal leadership,” he said.

“He deserves kudos for a 2011 Strategic National Risk Assessment that for the first time includes a geostorm scenario,” the congressional expert said. “But he is letting the bureaucrats spin their wheels forever on ‘paper progress’ that leaves the grid unprotected.

“Why hasn’t Obama ordered the DHS as yet to adopt a National Planning Scenario focused on EMP?” the source asked.

“Absent an NPS for EMP,” he added, “the threat is on nobody’s radar screen.”

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