“Global critical infrastructure organizations need to take this threat seriously. The Iranian adversary is real and they’re coming, if not already here.” ~ Mark Weatherford, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Homeland Security
On a Monday 73 years ago, today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began his address to a joint session of Congress with these famous words: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date that will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Congress declared war on Japan, with only one dissenting vote. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and we were committed to World War II, a war that may have been avoided had we been prepared.
But we were unprepared, and over 85 million died—including death by associated starvation and disease around the world; and including over 400,000 of the “Greatest Generation Americans” who fought in that war. (Click here for some pertinent statistics by country.) My reflections last year on Pearl Harbor emphasized that this “Black Swan” event should not have been a complete surprise. Billy Mitchell was court-martialed for demonstrating the vulnerability of ships to attack from the air and giving us 15 years of explicit “strategic warning” of Pearl Harbor’s specific vulnerability to air attack—which we ignored, and Roberta Wohlstetter’s in-depth 1962 analysis demonstrated our failure in responding to “tactical warning” of the actual attack.
Today, we are again living through a period of great threats to all we hold dear—and we are not likely to have time to recover from a modern surprise attack using technology that did not exist in 1941-45. This is why it is so important to block Iran’s efforts to gain nuclear weapons that could pose an existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat—and why the thus far failure to do so is so dangerous.
Strategic Warning of an EMP Attack by Iran.
The remainder of my December 11, 2013 message discussed a possible, now looming, “Black Swan” attack by Iran that could extinguish American civilization—indeed Western Civilization, which is the declared objective of Iran’s ruling mullahs. We listed the long-standing “strategic warning” events below:
- The U.S. demonstrated high altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) effects on “ancient” vacuum tube electronics nearly 1000 miles from our 1962 Starfish Prime nuclear test in the South Pacific—today’s solid state electronics are much, much more vulnerable to HEMP.
- At considerable expense during the Cold War, the U.S. hardened its key military electronic systems to HEMP to assure the President could retaliate after a Soviet HEMP attack on the U.S. This capability was at the heart of our deterrent policy.
- Post-Cold War discussions with Russia validated this investment—their high altitude tests were actually more extensive than ours and they included HEMP in their attack plans.
- We continue to harden our strategic military systems but have done little or nothing to harden our civil critical infrastructure—especially the electric power grid, upon which the viability of most other critical infrastructure depends.
- The Congressionally mandated nonpartisan EMP Commission reports warned of the devastating consequences of such an attack in 2004 and in 2008 provided previously classified information to back up these conclusions in a comprehensive report.
- The EMP Commission identified the electric power grid vulnerabilities as being critically important, deserving remediation immediately—its Chairman testified that unless these vulnerabilities were rectified, starvation, disease and social collapse from a HEMP attack could lead to the death of most Americans within the following year.
- Russia has shared its nuclear and ballistic missile technology with China, North Korea, Iran and, at least via the cacophony of proliferation if not directly, with others. This includes information that helps North Korea develop nuclear weapons to maximize EMP effects. For example, close collaboration between North Korea and Iran has benefited both—of course with help from Russia and China.
- Iran has collaborated with North Korea and attended North Korean tests, which some experts believe were intended to demonstrate advanced designs that could easily be adapted for ballistic missile or satellite delivery to create HEMP effects.
- Iran has pursued an extensive ballistic missile development program—including testing in the late 1990s that knowledgeable observers associate with an interest an HEMP attack from a seagoing vessel.
- A ten-day maneuver exercise in the summer of 2011 launched some 14 ballistic missiles of various ranges, after which Iran’s then Defense Minister, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, boasted: “The war games…show Iran’s great capability in designing, producing and using various kinds of missiles based on domestic knowledge. This showed that the sanctions imposed had no effect on Iran’s missile program.”
Last Year’s Tactical Warning of an EMP Attack by Iran.
These activities bridge into more recent potential “Tactical Warning” events that may signal an eminent attack. A slightly edited version of last year’s list follows:
- The last bullet above suggested a certain irrelevance of the debate over sanctions in the broader context of the ongoing ill-advised negotiations with Iran on its nuclear weapons development programs. We just kicked the can down the road for the second time since last year—with no real prospect of any significantly helpful outcome.
- Over a year ago, North Korea and Iran launched satellites to their south, traveling over the South Polar regions, which could easily have been directed over the U.S. in their initial orbit at an altitude to optimize HEMP effects over the entire continental U.S.
- Over a year ago, Iranian Naval Admiral Afshin Rezayee said Iran’s Navy plans to deploy warships in the Atlantic.
- Previously, Iranian officials had observed their ships can threaten U.S. coastal cities—particularly from the Gulf of Mexico. We are completely vulnerable to such an attack.
- Meanwhile President Obama and his spokesmen have continued to signal a willingness for Iran to continue with a “Modest nuclear enrichment program” . . . whatever that means, it must drive the Israelis up the wall—as it should any who may ultimately be threatened by a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is the “Little Satan”—America is the “Great Satan.”
Breaking News—Urgent Tactical Warning.
Just breaking news should further heighten our concern that time for us to respond is running out. Even as Secretary of State John Kerry prepares for another round of negotiations with little hope of any meaningful success, news this week explicitly indicates Iran is planning to employ EMP weapons against us. Last Monday, EMP Caucus Chairman Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), in speaking on the House floor for the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) that passed by a voice vote, noted that
“The National Intelligence University of the United States recently translated an Iranian military doctrine called “Passive Defense” which referenced the use of nuclear EMP as a weapon more than 20 times. This doctrine stresses that electrical grids are vital to national existence. It includes a formula for calculating the value of electric power plants and for prioritizing the targeting of electric grid components and other infrastructures.”
Mr. Franks made the same statement at a conference I attended last Thursday and Friday. I strongly urge that you read this important Act and the associated floor statements, including that of Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY), the co-chair of the EMP Caucus.
In addition, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) who will chair the Homeland Security Committee also spoke on Friday, and I believe he will be very supportive of CIPA and other measures to defend the nation against EMP attacks. Hopefully, the Senate will also pass the act before the end of the current session—if not I believe it will come up immediately in the new session to begin in January.
Rep. Franks’ reference to this Iranian report on Iran’s military doctrine deserves great weight, as further indicated by additional troubling Iranian threat information provided this week by Cylance, a private security firm. Its report on Iranian cyber operations referred to as Operation Cleaver is sobering, to say the least. Cylance dubbed the threatening Iranian team “Tarh Andishan,” which roughly translated means “thinkers” or “innovators.” They have displayed an evolved skillset to perform attacks of espionage, theft, and the potential destruction of control systems and networks. Tarh Andishan was observed actively targeting, attacking, and compromising more than 50 victims since at least 2012.
By “reverse hacking” the Iranian cyber-offense infrastructure and compromising their servers, Cylance obtained 80,000 files and 8 gigabytes of data, including data Iran stole from the U.S. Marine Corps. Among other things, the 85 page report included that the Iranian group is believed to work from Tehran, “although auxiliary team members were identified in other locations including the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK.” Targets include “military, oil and gas, energy and utilities, transportation, airlines, airports, hospitals, telecommunications, technology, education, aerospace, Defense Industrial Base (DIB), chemical companies, and governments.”
Surely, the U.S. electric power grid is among these targets. And given Mr. Franks’ revelation that the Iranian military strategy includes the exploitation of EMP, it is not a stretch to imagine Iranian attack strategy combines cyber-attacks with the more debilitating EMP attacks, once Iran achieves that capability. Indeed, this fits with Cylance’s bottom line after tracking the Operation Cleaver team for over two years, that
“the government of Iran, and particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is backing numerous groups and front entities to attack the world’s critical infrastructure.”
It would be absurd for U.S. planners not to consider the full spectrum of threats, including direct attacks like the 2 AM sniper attack on the Metcalf substation near San Jose in April 2013, followed by another attack last August. Such repeated successful attacks on such an important substation do not provide confidence in the power company’s countermeasures, even after a year for their application—a highly publicized bad message to have sent to an Iran planning to attack the United States. Good news for Iran; bad news for us. (Click here for a brief press account.)
The most devastating threat could occur once Iran mates nuclear weapons to its ballistic missiles and can launch a devastating HEMP attack with nuclear detonations a hundred or so miles above the U.S.—combined with cyber and a Metcalf-like attack operations.
Some Key Bottom Lines:
To recap a few associated important bottom lines from my email messages over the past year:
- Members of the Executive and Legislative branches are collectively failing in their sworn duty “to provide for the common defense” against the EMP threat.
- The key obstacles blocking effective U.S. countermeasures are purely political. The threat is well known—and validated by numerous competent technical reviews. The cost of hardening is minimal by any reasonable measure—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which doesn’t have the authority and resources to rectify the situation, has estimated the annual cost to be less than that of a postage stamp per subscriber. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a captive of the Electric Power industry which has blocked for four years legislation to improve the electric grid’s ability to survive an EMP attack. Click here for an example of dysfunctional NERC-FERC treatment of Natural EMP. The above mentioned Metcalf failures speak volumes. And there’s more—much more—evidence of a badly broken regulatory process.
- So . . . the electric power companies have been winning in their efforts to frustrate initiatives to harden the electric power grid against HEMP (or other manmade or natural EMP) effects.
- Some believe that Iran would not attack the United States for fear of retaliation—these views ignore the stated willingness of the ruling Mullahs to commit suicide to achieve their stated objective of eliminating the Great Satan (America) and Little Satan (Israel) and to hasten the return of the Mahdi according to their end times prophesy.
- The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) is a step in the right direction, but . . .
- The clock clicks on—toward a disaster that will make Pearl Harbor look like a picnic . . .
WILL THERE BE ANOTHER DATE THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY?????
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
As time may be running out for effective U.S. action, we will continue to inform all who will listen about the existential EMP threat and how to counter it. Our primary focus will be to help state and local authorities, particularly the National Guard, protect the citizens under their charge. Past experience shows that it is foolish to wait for the federal authorities to respond effectively.
High Frontier will continue to advocate the most cost effective BMD systems that the powers that be will permit.
And we will seek effective means to harden the electric power grid. As quickly as possible.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.
And support us with your tax deductible gifts to help enable our continuing efforts.
E-Mail Message 141208
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