From: thehill.com, 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 the 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 re-entry 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 re-entry 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 the 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 re-entry 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 underreport 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 on the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.
Many of us remember when we were Boy Scouts (before they became Any-Gendered-Scouts), and the time-honored motto: Be Prepared. Those two words and what they imply didn’t die with the real scouts, they’re still true today and they’re appropriate to describe how we should treat the vulnerability of our electrical grid.
Why would our government ignore something that could yield so much devastation on the country’s population? One of the few things that our national government is tasked with doing is protecting the United States, why isn’t this threat being considered seriously?
Frankly, while the 90% figure is attention-grabbing, and IS actually possible – not probable, but possible, the magnitude of that forecast screams scare tactic. So let’s forget the 90% estimate. Let’s consider just a limited blackout of the East Coast. How many would die if only the grid’s Eastern Connection was affected (states of VT, NH, MA, NY, CT, RI)? That could be accomplished via a missile launched from a ship in international waters off the coast.
Dr. Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event. With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.
Our grid is interconnected and is somewhat like a house of cards, major damage to critical components of the Eastern Grid could wreak havoc on over 33 million consumers. But let’s suppose that the failure only resulted in a 10% fatality rate. Remember that EMP-related fatalities don’t result from an explosion, but from the absence of the electricity that powers our lives.
Think about it, no lights, no gas, no medical equipment, no refrigeration, we run out of food, water, medicines, sewage pumping systems fail, first responders can’t respond, hospitals can’t operate, civility breaks down and social unrest ensues and on and on. Even with help coming in from unaffected areas, a catastrophe can’t be averted – remember Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans? Katrina was minor to the effects of no electricity on the lives of 33 million people.
The absence of electricity for several months could easily cause us to lose 3.31 million American citizens. Are we wise to ignore a threat that could occur by way of natural causes (solar flares), a terrorist infrastructure attack on grid controls, or via a high altitude EMP-enhanced nuclear attack by North Korea (or even Iran)?
As a nation, we all still agonize over the almost 3,000 killed on 9/11, how would we feel if we lost 3 million?
We need to “Be Prepared.”