Concerns are increasing that U.S. foes will launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States as early as Election Day in a bid by countries such as Russia, Iran, China and North Korea to disrupt the power transition in Washington.
A top expert said the attackers could take advantage of poor protection from an EMP attack and the lack of authority during a transition to send at least 50 million people along the East Coast into the dark with a nuclear blast in the atmosphere that would wipe out the electric grid.
“Enemies planning to attack the United States or its allies could find few better times than the period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, when the nation is transitioning to a new commander in chief and new administration and is most divided politically from top to bottom,” wrote Peter Vincent Pry in The Long Sunday, Election Day 2016-Inauguration Day 2017.
Pry and others have been pushing states and Washington to install grid protections from EMP attacks. They say the costs are low for insurance against an attack or a devastating solar flare.
The Pentagon and some states are already working to protect electric lines, but the majority of the vast U.S. grid is unprotected.
Potential attacks, meanwhile, are relatively easy to launch. Pry and former CIA Director James Woolsey have suggested a small nuclear weapon could be delivered via satellite or shipboard missile into the atmosphere and detonated, melting down the U.S. electric system.
In his new book, Pry wrote that nuclear EMP attacks are practiced by Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. “Some U.S. analysts call it cybergeddon or blackout war,” he added.
Ditto for the lull between Tuesday’s election and Inauguration Day, he added. The impact would be huge.
“The national electric grid being aged, over-taxed with demand, always operating on the verge of failure, capable of blackouts that put 50 million people into the dark because of cascading failures from a tree branch, the entire eastern grid would certainly be plunged into a protracted blackout from such an EMP attack. The U.S. cannot survive without the eastern grid, which generates 75 percent of the nation’s electricity and supports most of the national population,” Pry said.
Among the reasons the next 75 days are attractive for an attack wrote Pry:
— For the first time in eight years, the United States will be undergoing transition to a new commander-in-chief and new presidential administration.
— Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day holidays and typically five days of inaugural celebrations leading up to Inauguration Day occur within “the long Sunday.” Official Washington from top to bottom, including in Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community, is mostly on holiday and many are physically absent.
— Plans to strengthen U.S. conventional forces, modernize nuclear forces, and protect national critical infrastructures from EMP and cyber threats have been proposed, but not yet implemented. Better to strike when U.S. strength and preparedness are at their nadir.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com See more…