How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans

From:,  by R. James Woolsey and Vincent Pry,  on Mar 29, 2017

The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its repeated threats to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons. False reassurance is given to the American people that North Korea has not “demonstrated” that it can miniaturize a nuclear warhead small enough for missile delivery, or build a reentry vehicle for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of penetrating the atmosphere to blast a U.S. city.

Yet any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technological challenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design.

Indeed, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has been photographed posing with what appears to be a genuine miniaturized nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles. And North Korea does, in fact, have two classes of ICBMs—the road mobile KN-08 and KN-14—which both appear to be equipped with sophisticated reentry vehicles.

Even if it were true that North Korea does not yet have nuclear missiles, their “Dear Leader” could deliver an atomic bomb hidden on a freighter sailing under a false flag into a U.S. port, or hire their terrorist allies to fly a nuclear 9/11 suicide mission across the unprotected border with Mexico. In this scenario, populous port cities like New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, or big cities nearest the Mexican border, like San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, and Santa Fe, would be most at risk.

A Hiroshima-type A-Bomb having a yield of 10-kilotons detonated in a major city would cause about 200,000 casualties from blast, thermal, and radiation effects. North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon having an estimated yield of 20-30 kilotons. The Defense Department assesses that on January 6, 2016, North Korea may have tested components of an H-Bomb. H-Bombs are much more powerful than A-Bombs and can produce much greater casualties—millions of casualties in a big city like New York.

The notion that North Korea is testing A-Bombs and H-Bomb components, but does not yet have the sophistication to miniaturize warheads and make reentry vehicles for missile delivery is absurd.

Eight years ago, in 2008, the CIA’s top East Asia analyst publicly stated North Korea successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads for delivery on its Nodong medium-range missile. The Nodong is able to strike South Korea and Japan or, if launched off a freighter, even the United States.

In 2011, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. General Ronald Burgess, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea has weaponized its nuclear devices into warheads for arming ballistic missiles.

On April 7, 2015, at a Pentagon press conference, Admiral William Gortney, then Commander of North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD), responsible for protecting the U.S. from long-range missiles, warned that the intelligence community assesses North Korea’s KN-08 mobile ICBM could strike the U.S. with a nuclear warhead.

And on October 7, 2015, Gortney again warned the Atlantic Council: “I agree with the intelligence community that we assess that they [North Koreans] have the ability, they have the weapons, and they have the ability to miniaturize those weapons, and they have the ability to put them on a rocket that can range the [U.S.] homeland.”

In February and March of 2015, former senior national security officials of the Reagan and Clinton administrations warned that North Korea should be regarded as capable of delivering by satellite a small nuclear warhead, specially designed to make a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the United States. According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year—killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.

Two North Korean satellites, the KMS-3 and KMS-4, presently orbit over the U.S. on trajectories consistent with surprise EMP attack.

Why do the press and public officials ignore or under-report these facts? Perhaps no administration wants to acknowledge that North Korea is an existential threat on their watch.

Whatever the motives for obfuscating the North Korean nuclear threat, the need to protect the American people is immediate and urgent:

The U.S. must be prepared to preempt North Korea by any means necessary—including nuclear weapons.

Launch a crash program to harden against EMP attack the U.S. electric grid to preserve American civilization and hundreds of millions of lives. This could be part of President Trump’s infrastructure modernization project.

Beef up national missile defenses. Revive President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the unfairly derided “Star Wars.” Space-based missile defenses could still render nuclear missiles obsolete and offer a permanent, peaceful, solution to problems like North Korea.

Ambassador R. James Woolsey was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1993-95. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, served in the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.


According to everything that I’ve read (I’m not among the thousands who have unfettered access to NSA records), the Dear Leader doesn’t yet have the capability to hit the U.S. mainland with a direct missile shot, so that’s not what worries me about the egomaniacal, diminutive Kim Jong-Un, it’s the two satellites that he already has orbiting over the United States. The following is from an article on on 4/24/2016 (not quite a year ago):

WASHINGTON – North Korea now has two satellites orbiting over the United States capable of performing a surprise electromagnetic pulse attack at an altitude and trajectory that evade U.S. National Missile Defenses, a national security expert warned in an interview with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The satellites – KMS 3-2 and KMS 4 – are orbiting at an altitude of 300 miles, with trajectories that put them daily over the U.S. KMS 3-2 was launched in December 2012 and KMS 4 was launched Feb. 7. At such an altitude, an EMP could impact much of the continental United States, according to EMP experts.

An EMP attack that could shut down indefinitely such life-sustaining critical infrastructures as communications, transportation, finance, the delivery of water and food, sanitation, medical equipment, emergency services, and oil and natural gas pipelines could be devestating to the country.

So you can see why I periodically post articles about an EMP attack. Russia, China, Iran, and now North Korea all have the ability to conduct such an attack and it boggles my mind that our national leaders don’t seem to be interested enough to harden our electrical grid against this vulnerability. All you need to do is read William Forstchen’s great book, “One Second After” and you’ll understand why action is important NOW – before it’s too late.


Categories: General


10 replies

  1. Fantastic article, Garnet.

    Seems to me the very same people who dismiss the seriousness of the North Korea threat are the same ones who look back at history and say, “Why didn’t anyone stop Hitler, or why didn’t we heed the warning signs leading up to 9-11? Now we know why. Politics always comes first.

    In the time that the doves and the hawks have been arguing about the extent of the threat posed by North Korea, that openly hostile state has been progressively improving its threat capability. I see no sense in erring on the side of assuming the best, given what we know. Furthermore, whatever we do to protect ourselves from the possibility of a hostile act by NK is money well-spent because it will vastly improve our readiness against attacks from other hostile entities. Readiness is the greatest deterrent and therefore the greatest peace insurance; but of course the rub is that as long as there is peace the doves fight against what it takes to be ready.

    The vulnerability of our critical infrastructure can hardly be overstated. If I were a rogue dictator wanting to hurt a much more powerful nation, that’s precisely where I’d strike to get the most bang for my buck. Would it kill 9 out of 10? Who knows. But just 1 out of 100 would be devastating not just in terms of real lives lost but psychologically, financially and probably politically as well. Whatever the casualty number might be, we can’t afford it.


  2. “… blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year—killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.”

    I’m not buying that. I think it’s hyperbolic; the stuff of post-apocalyptic movies. Mad Max.

    The fact is that we weren’t dependent on such an electronic-grid infrastructure as recently as just 30 years ago. How’d we survive to get to this point without one, if that hypothesis is at all true?

    Take it even further. 90% casualty rate would mean 290 million or so deaths, or about 3/4 of a million a day. It clearly presupposes that our society would immediately devolve into a Yemen or Somalia. But even there, the death rates aren’t anywhere near that high.

    No, that claim is pure nonsense.


    • With all due respect Brian, I think that you minimize what could easily be a catastrophe for the country.

      First, fixing the electrical grid: A year would be an extremely optimistic estimate on how long it would take us to “minimally recover” from a major scale EMP attack. I’ve written about this issue a lot and there’s a lot more to it than what was covered in this article.

      Honestly, I don’t believe that North Korea can target us with a nationwide EMP strike, but they’ve proven the ability to place satellites into the right orbit to inflict catastrophic damage to much of the country at the same time.

      Our over 300 Extra High Voltage transformers are old and aging. They’re expensive and take over a year to build. There are only four plants in the U.S capable of building 345 kV transformers and only two can build 500 kV and 765 kV transformers which represent the largest group of at-risk units. We produce only 15% of the EHV transformers we use. Couple that with the fact that switches and other electronic devices will have components fried by the EMP and a year to return us to some semblance of normalcy becomes optimistic.

      Without electricity, what happens? In the meantime, stores will be out of groceries in a week or two (most only have a 1-2 day supply of bread, milk, eggs and meats) and without gasoline or diesel fuel, resupply will be non-existent. The same is true of medicines and medical devices that require electricity to work. They may last a month or so but after that what?

      Obviously, ATM’s and banks will be closed and what happens to commerce when there’s no way to pay for anything. Barter and theft are the only solutions to the movement of goods between one person and another. If I have food (and you know it) you may try to barter with me to trade something for food. If we can’t come to an agreement, what happens to your responsibility to feed your family? If you come forcefully at me and my family to take our food, what am I going to do? Respond in kind, and we have a firefight.

      The problem is that we are so dependent on electricity to power our world; most of us have lost the ability to continue anything approaching normal life without it for very long. It’s true that some of us have “prepared” for something like a grid shutdown, but not a destruction of a significant part of it. I can handle perhaps up to a month, but after that, batteries expire; propane runs out, generators run out of fuel, etc.

      Three-quarters of a million a day isn’t even remotely accurate. There would be increasing numbers of deaths as time wears on. Only a few at first, gradually increasing to perhaps millions a day by six months into the darkness.

      No, we wouldn’t immediately devolve into Yemen or Somalia, but human nature would drag us past them in a matter of months. We will lose something on which we’ve come to depend on and lives will be turned upside down. How many of us are prepared, physically, mentally, or emotionally to handle that?

      While I’m not losing any sleep over the EMP threat, it is worthwhile to note that all of the major powers have developed EMP-enhanced nuclear devices. And it’s because it doesn’t kill the population directly, just damages the ability of that population to defend itself from a real attack – perhaps months later.

      For what it’s worth, I am convinced that an EMP attack is far more likely than a nuclear detonation. It’s far more efficient, easier to deploy, and has the advantage of leaving infrastructure like roads, bridges, buildings, etc. undamaged and without the danger of lingering radioactivity.

      I know that’s long-winded, but I wanted to explore the ramifications of such an attack if, God forbid, one were to come.


      • I disagree. You’re doing the same thing the author of the piece does: ignore the ability of a modern society to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances.

        I’m not going to go into a long rebuttal because, in all honesty, I’m just not interested enough in this to do so. But I don’t find the 90% casualty rate at all persuasive or even slightly believable.


      • In fact, the more I think about it, the more that claim sounds like the kind of hyperbole the “climate change” hysterics throw around.


    • Bambi will be among the first mammal casualties in my neck of the woods… then Daffy, Donald, and all manner of cute critter. I can, however, see the efficacy of stocking up on rock salt, ammo and hand operated water filtration as a precaution for just about any disaster. And of course, my favorite survival book — Euell Gibbons’ Handbook of Edible Wild Plants, the Dandelion root recipe is fantastic.


  3. Kim Jung Ho is psycho enough to wake up some morning and in his boredom, start punching buttons. We already know Iran hates us and is intent on wiping us out, so the grid problem should demand some attention. If our government weren’t so preoccupied with scandals, spying and constant oversight hearings that bear out no results, they could get down to the business of protecting the country.

    Trump has said that the government is going to be lean and do more with less, so it will be interesting to see if he can actually make that happen. The state of the electrical grids is the responsibility of the Dept. of Energy, and now with Rick Perry as the new head, we should be able to expect big changes. We’ll see if Perry shares Trump’s goals.


    • That is the most worrisome part of North Korea’s threat to us. If Un was halfway reasonable or mentally balanced, he would be less of a threat than Russia, China, or Iran. But I don’t think that he can be depended on to act rationally – and that’s what worries me.

      As I’ve written before, it’s not only NK that we have to worry about, a really big CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) could cause similar destruction to the grid – a totally natural disaster and one that we have zero control over – if one comes, we’ll have a day or two warning and then WHAM!


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