Jim Quinn Was Light Years Ahead of the Curve On This One...

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Tue Feb 15 19:43:00 MST 2005


     Jim Quinn used to talk about the following subject as far
back as 1997 and it's as real as it gets...............

Institute On Religion And Democracy’s Diane Knippers On Facing
Tough Decisions



Free Congress Foundation's

Notable News Now

January 4, 2005

The Free Congress Commentary

Electromagnetic Pulse:  An Avoidable Disaster
By Paul M. Weyrich

Although the risk of your house catching fire and burning to the
ground is remote, are you willing to risk not having fire

That’s a question that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) poses, and the
answer that I think you and I would give without hesitation is

Our country is unprepared to deal with a nuclear explosion at a
high altitude.  The danger would be more than merely life or limb.
 A nuclear explosion over Chicago, for example, could plunge a
large portion of our country into darkness, with electricity lost
for days, even months, perhaps in some places years.  All
computerized activity in the region would cease.  The culprit:
High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse.

The very day the 9/11 Commission report was issued another report,
that may one day prove itself to be even more important to our
security, also was released.  “The Report of the Commission to
Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse
Attack” stated that our country has the ability to prevent the
worst-case scenarios from occurring in this age of international

When NATO started to bomb the Serbs in the spring of 1999 to stop
Slobodan Milosevic’s expulsion campaign against ethnic Albanians,
the Russians were very unhappy about our military aggressions
against one of their longtime allies. Rep. Bartlett was part of a
bi-partisan delegation assembled by Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) to
examine the situation.  They conferred with some counterparts from
the Russian Duma.  One Duma member, Vladimir Lukin (at the time
chairing the Duma’s International Affairs Committee and formerly a
high-level member of the Soviet national security apparatus under
Gorbachev), threatened that if Russia really wanted to hurt
without fear of retaliation, Russia would launch a missile against
us from a submarine, explode it high over our skies and shut down
our power grid and communications for six months.

Rep. Bartlett was very disturbed by what he had heard; he wanted
to know if the Russians were bluffing and sought the opinions of
our country’s military experts.  After he found that the Clinton
Administration was ignoring the threat, Rep. Bartlett decided to
establish the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Commission.  The EMP
Commission was established by unanimous consent of the House and

If a nuclear blast occurred in high altitudes over our country,
people would not be killed by the fallout from the blast itself.
The most serious and far-reaching damage would be done by the EMP
emissions.  The result?  According to the report, “the
‘electromagnetic shock’ that disrupts or damages electronics-based
control systems, sensors, communication systems, protective
systems, computers, and similar devices.  Its damage or functional
disruption occurs essentially simultaneously over a very large
area.”  One scenario outlined by the EMP Commission predicted that
a blast over Chicago, where 70% of our country’s total power
generation occurs, would instantly impact cities as distant as New
York and Washington, D.C.

Important economic and life-sustaining sectors that stand to be
severely damaged or shut down are our electronic power
infrastructure, telecommunications, banking and finance,
transportation, fuel/energy, food and emergency services, water
supply, space systems and government operations.

An EMP attack cannot be compared to an ordinary blackout, even a
very large blackout, because it will occur over a greater area,
damage major electronic systems and cause recovery to be measured
in months.

 Here is some of the damage that stands to occur immediately after
an attack unless sensible “hardening” precautions are taken to
protect data and systems. They are:

Electronic records in computers, such as your savings and checking
accounts, would be inaccessible.

Your telephone line, even for a cellular, would go dead.

The systems that operate petroleum refineries would be stopped,
forcing energy production to halt for some time.

 Transportation would be disrupted.  Car and truck engines, train
engines would be disabled.  Traffic signals would become
inoperable.  Our air traffic control system would cease to exist.

Calling 911 would be a thing of the past.

The EMP Commission report warned:  “Many citizens would be without
power, communications and other services for days – or perhaps
substantially longer – before full recovery could occur.  During
that interval, it will be crucial to provide a reliable channel of
information to those citizens to let them know what has happened,
the current situation, when help of what types for them might be
available, what their governments are doing, and the host of
questions which, if not answered, are certain to create more
instability and suffering for the affected individuals,
communities, and the Nation as a whole.”

The Boy Scout motto -- “Be prepared” -- is sound advice for our
nation’s policymakers in this era of global terrorism.  They
cannot afford to ignore this report or its warnings or other
warnings that biological and chemical warfare agents, cyber
attacks and surface-burst nuclear weaponry are other significant
threats.  Those types of attacks would be the more deadly when
combined with an EMP attack.

There are steps we can take to increase our ability to quickly
recover from an EMP attack.  For example, the Department of
Homeland Security should have a list that prioritizes emergency
electricity delivery to hospitals, regional food warehouses, water
supply and critical communications and transportation.  Preparing
and protecting spare transformers could quickly repair the power
grid and permit the recovery of electric power, enabling other
important infrastructures to be functional.  The EMP Commission
made the point that we need wise and effective planning; it needs
to be done now.

The Wall Street Journal did not ignore the Commission’s report on
the perils of an EMP attack.  It published an editorial warning
that China and Russia have the capability to launch an EMP strike
against us.  Over the next 15 years our relations with these
countries are likely to be volatile and unpredictable.  Russian
Duma members threatened us five years ago.  Chinese publications
have carried articles about EMP, including threats to use EMP to
neutralize our aircraft carriers if we were to war with China over
Taiwan.  The Commission appeared most concerned about an EMP
attack from terrorists or rogue states who believe they have
absolutely nothing to lose.

Wall Street is indeed concerned about this problem.  The EMP
Commission delivered a briefing to the Securities Industry
Automation Corporation, which handles the communications networks
responsible for the New York Stock Exchange.  EMP Commissioner
Lowell L. Wood, Jr. estimated in an Aerospace Daily & Defense
Report article published earlier this fall that, all told, an EMP
attack that shuts down our critical infrastructure systems could
carry a $10 trillion dollar price tag.

The nine members who served on the EMP Commission have strong
credentials:  Commission Chairman, Dr. William R. Graham, served
as Director of the White Office of Science & Technology Policy and
as Science Advisor to President Ronald Reagan; General Richard L.
Lawson, USAF, Ret., is a former President and CEO of the National
Mining Association; Dr. Lowell L. Wood is Senior Staff Scientist
at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Rep. Bartlett brings a unique skill set:  With a master’s degree
in physiology, he worked at the John Hopkins Applied Physics
Laboratory, directing a unit in Space Life Sciences and at IBM on
biomedical engineering projects.  He speaks on this issue with a
background in the sciences.  At 78 years of age, he has the energy
and drive that would shame many young people.

Bartlett is undeterred by the lack of response from the
establishment news media, driven by his understanding of what may
truly be at stake if our nation’s policymakers and business
leaders continue to ignore the EMP Commission’s work.  Some have
called the 9/11 Commission report a look in the rear view mirror.
By contrast, the EMP Commission report is a look down the road at
the kind of attack that instantaneously could change our status as
the world’s superpower to that of a nation with an infrastructure
so diminished that Third World nations might be envied.

Many important issues will be taken up by the next Congress,
starting in January.  This issue deserves strong consideration as
does our ability to deal with other kind of attacks, such as
biological warfare, that represent the deadly future of warfare
and terrorism.  If the worst case scenario were to occur, it also
would be important that our public officials respond in a manner
that seeks to preserve our liberties and heritage as much as

Rep. Bartlett advises that sensible steps taken now can prepare us
to deal with, even thwart, the mayhem caused by terrorists and
rogue nations.  I hope we have some lawmakers who share Mr.
Bartlett’s concern in preserving our American way of life for
future generations.  If we do, then I expect Congress will delve
further into the work of the EMP Commission and its unsettling

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress

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