High-altitude EMP blast

High-altitude EMP blast

WASHINGTON – In the same month that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb it described as being capable of a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack, the congressional EMP Commission, tasked with assessing the EMP threat, was shut down indefinitely.

The leading scientists, engineers and security experts who were members of the commission, which ceased Sept. 30, had concluded that an EMP attack could disable the country’s electrical grid, resulting in mass starvation and the death of about 90 percent of the American population.

While President Trump on Monday designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror, the government at all levels is virtually apathetic to the EMP threat, contends Tommy Waller the director of special projects at the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Waller, a U.S. Marine and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said the CSP is developing a new strategy of educating the American people about the EMP threat so they will put pressure on lawmakers to secure the grid.

Will you be ready when the lights go out? Widespread, long-term power outages are almost certain to occur in the future. Find out how you can prepare in Jeffrey Yago’s “Lights On: The Non-Technical Guide to Battery Power When the Grid Goes Down,” available at the WND Superstore.

“We are not trying to sell fear,” Waller told WND in an interview. “The American people are vulnerable, and there will be no cavalry – the public needs to know that they cannot depend on the government at the federal, state or local level to take care of them in the event of a prolonged black out.

Waller said the need to respond to the threat is urgent.

“For the first time in military history, we have a scenario where it doesn’t take a whole civilization to overtake another,” he said.

“Hundreds of years ago, if you wanted to take over a civilization, you had to build that capability of equal or greater power of military and economic force to do it,” he said. “Because of our dependency on electricity for every aspect of our life, we now face a scenario where our civilization, the most sophisticated on earth, could be crushed if we were to lose our grid, and our enemies know that.”

Waller urged citizens to visit SecuretheGrid.com, a website of CSP’s Secure the Grid Coalition, to learn more about EMP.

William Graham, chairman of the former EMP commission, and Peter Pry, former chief of staff to the commission, warned Congress in an Oct. 12 hearing that an EMP bomb, likely from North Korea, could kill as many as 90 percent of Americans within a year. They recommended in an extensive report steps to protect the infrastructure.

They said that detonating just one of North Korea’s current nuclear weapons in the upper atmosphere above the heartland of the U.S. could destroy the electrical grid, paralyzing communications and transportation nationwide and plunging the country back into a 19th century-style existence.

North Korea has fired 22 missiles in 15 tests since February.

‘No cavalry coming’

Waller noted the federal government has struggled to get Puerto Rico back up to full power after the hurricane. Just 46.6 percent of the island has power as of Monday. Imagine, he said, the devastation that would ensue if the nation’s entire grid collapsed.

“If that were to happen on the mainland, with an electromagnetic pulse, there is no cavalry coming,” he said.

An EMP attack would also cripple the U.S. military, Waller said.

“Military is in the same boat as everyone else,” he said. “They won’t have power, they won’t have water. Their sewers will be backed up, and they won’t have food. The American people need to know that they need to be prudent and prepared and not counting on the government. At the same time they need to be educated to do everything they can to get the energy companies and government to do the right thing.”

Waller said members of Congress restrain from proposing legislation that will harden critical infrastructure and the electric grid because they are beholden to private utility companies that are not regulated by government.

“There is a big fear among electric utility companies that if legislation were to pass that would require them to undergo hardening equipment, they would suddenly have to undergo independent assessment tests as to whether it was done properly,” he said.

“It would essentially begin to bring outside government input into an industry that doesn’t want any regulation.”

Waller said many in elected office never want to be at odds with the companies that produce electric power, the country’s largest employers.

“Ultimately they answer to us, the people,” he said. “The people need to be made aware of this and get to the point where they won’t put up with it anymore. We are really going to have to launch a public awareness campaign.”

Entrenched bureaucrats

Pry, a nuclear strategist formerly with the CIA who served as chief of staff of the EMP Commission until it was terminated Sept. 30, told WND last month that it is the entrenched bureaucrats whose loyalties likely lay with a previous administration who are indifferent to the threat.

“The people who sabotaged the EMP Commission, Obama holdovers, are still at the Department of Defense,” he said. “They have not been replaced by the Trump administration.”

He said society is paying for the failure of Congress to support Trump appointees quickly.

At this point in the Obama administration, he said, there were twice as many appointees appointed to positions in government than in the Trump administration.

“It’s not President Trump’s fault – these people are undermining and opposing the policies that President Trump has enacted, including the case of the EMP Commission,” Waller said.

Congress is slated appoint a new EMP Commission, but Waller fears the new appointees, chose by elected officials, will politicize their assessment of the looming threat.

“We don’t know who these people are going to be,” he said. “You have a situation where you had the best in the business, people who were literally there the first time the United States detonated a nuclear weapon in the exo-atmosphere and saw the effects of the EMP, people like Dr. William Graham,” he said.

“Those people are unemployed at this point and are about to be replaced by parties unknown,” he said.

“All it takes a new group of experts to say there is nothing to see here, then nobody focuses on EMP until it happens, and then it’s too late.”

Kicking the can down the road

The Center for Security Policy is urgently trying to get the attention of the Trump administration, urging the hardening of the critical infrastructure, but so far has failed, Waller said.

“The federal government had a very dysfunctional response to this threat,” he said.

Waller said he and his colleagues are recommending the president create a task force with an executive agent that reports directly to him.

Waller wants it to be led by a “champion,” such as Newt Gingrich.

“We are trying through every avenue we can to alert people who would have an audience with the president to get these recommendations to him. But we can’t say that those efforts have yet been successful,” he said.

Trump issued an executive order Monday punishing companies that do business with the North Korean regime. The administration banned all but humanitarian and journalistic travel to North Korea.

Trump has also been successful in convincing the United Nations to sanction North Korea. The Security Council voted to end North Korean textile exports, cap oil imports and crack down on North Korean overseas labor.

The current commander-in-chief, Waller said, is at least addressing the rogue regime of North Korea, unlike his predecessor.

Clinton, he noted, approved a plan in 1994 which would provide more than $4 billion in energy aid to North Korea over 10 years. In return, North Korea was expected to disband and dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

“Previous administrations set the precedent for rogue regimes like North Korea to gain more power,” he said. “Trump doesn’t seem to be trying to kick the can down the road – that’s how we got where we are now. Consecutive administrations failed to confront the North Korean dynasty.”

Waller said the framework that President Clinton put in place with North Korea is very much like the current Iran deal.

“It was used to prevent North Korea from getting nuclear weapons, but it absolutely didn’t.”

Will you be ready when the lights go out? Widespread, long-term power outages are almost certain to occur in the future. Find out how you can prepare in Jeffrey Yago’s “Lights On: The Non-Technical Guide to Battery Power When the Grid Goes Down,” available at the WND Superstore.

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