Members of Congress were again warned this week about the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from North Korea or other rogue entities that could have catastrophic effects on the United States, akin to an extinction-level event.
The briefing was given by two members of the former EMP congressional commission, who said that a nuclear detonation delivered from a missile or satellite could create an EMP which could “shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans.”
Dr. Peter Pry and William Graham of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, established in 2001, have followed the EMP threat closely for many years, and are highlighting North Korea’s recent rapid nuclear missile capability as further proof that the U.S. is behind the curve in preventing a disaster.
In a prepared statement, Dr. Pry wrote:
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was primitive, some academics claiming it had as few as 6 A-Bombs. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea has 60 nuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s ICBMs were fake, or if real could not strike the U.S. mainland. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea’s ICBMs can strike Denver and Chicago, and perhaps the entire United States.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea was many years away from an H-Bomb. Now it appears North Korea has H-Bombs comparable to sophisticated U.S. two-stage thermonuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts claimed North Korean ICBMs could not miniaturize an A-Bomb or design a reentry vehicle for missile delivery. Now the intelligence community reportedly assesses North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons, and has developed reentry vehicles for missile delivery, including by ICBMs that can strike the U.S.”
It’s not only a few members of a former commission who have been warning of the threat posed by an EMP to the United States. Former CIA director R. James Woolsey recently wrote an op-ed for The Hill where he shared similar concerns over EMP.
Pry, a former intelligence officer with the CIA, has been ridiculed by many in the media who have called his warnings over an EMP attack a “GOP fantasy.” Many media outlets have run their own articles attempting to discredit Pry’s research and downplay data about historical EMP effects, citing the fact that Newt Gingrich has written books on the subject and that the Republican Party included EMP in their party platform in 2016.
SOFREP’s Alex Hollings broke down what an EMP attack from North Korea would look like here. If executed successfully, it is not hard to imagine the ensuing chaos could easily lead to conditions that would result in mass hysteria and unrest.
Even without an EMP attack, there are many recent examples of power failures which led to widespread damage and destruction from relatively simple causes that stemmed from one or two points of failure within the entire power grid. An EMP attack would bring a level of complexity in its destruction that would take the U.S. years to recover from, according to Pry.