WASHINGTON — It is an unsettling doomsday scenario: A ballistic missile is launched from a freighter near America’s shores, setting off a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere. The blast generates electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that could take out the nation’s electrical grid and bring civilization as we know it “to a cold, dark halt.”
This warning comes from the former director of the CIA, James Woolsey, in little-noticed testimony recently before the House Armed Services Committee.
A nuclear weapon would be detonated in orbit “in order to destroy much of the electric grid from above the US with a single explosion,” he told lawmakers last week. “Two thirds of the US population would likely perish from starvation, disease, and societal breakdown. Other experts estimate the likely loss to be closer to 90 percent.”
This dire forecast included warning of an “increasing likelihood that rogue nations such as North Korea (and before long, most likely, Iran) will soon match Russia and China in that they will have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as SCUDs that could be launched from a freighter near our shores.”