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You're listening to EMPact Radio, the only network dedicated to addressing electromagnetic pulse and other threats that could end American civilization as we know it. With EMP expert and former CIA analyst, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry. For your nation, for your family, for your way of life. It's EMPact Radio. Starting now...
Good afternoon. Welcome to this week's episode of EMPact Radio's Dr. Peter Vincent Pry Show, I'm your co-host, Ross Howarth, in New York and Dr. Pry is live in Washington, DC. Our guest today is widely regarded as the greatest director of the CIA to ever have served our nation, Ambassador James Woolsey. We have some incredible guests, but this Ambassador has been anticipated on our show and on our calendar for a while. In fact, today's show has also been featured as a top pick on Blog Talk Radio. We are very excited to have him here. Before we introduce our esteemed guest, I would like to point out that he is not representing any organization here today and there may be some things he just simply chooses not to discuss or cannot discuss because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter. Also, before we get started, I would like to briefly follow up on last week's show and our discussion about H.R. 5026, which is commonly known as the GRID Act. Now, Dr. Pry, you were called away unexpectedly last week, but David Bellavia and I spent some time discussing what has been going on in the Senate. I know you have been working very hard to get the GRID Act back on track and that you have a piece coming out tomorrow in the commentary section of World News Daily that addresses this issue. Do you want to give us some of your thoughts on this?
Sure. It is absolutely shocking what the Senate did. You know, and I attribute it, the benign interpretation is ignorance over the importance of the EMP threats. What happened was that the Senate ended up amending H.R. 5026 to replace it with an earlier Senate bill that protects only against cyber security. The new version of H.R. 5026 that's before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, doesn't protect against nuclear EMP, it doesn't protect against natural EMP, it doesn't protect against sabotage or natural calamities. It doesn't take an all-hazards approach, which is what the original House version of H.R. 5026 did, which passed the House on a bipartisan basis, passed unanimously. It's particularly ironic and disturbing that the Senate undertook this action in the very week that NASA and NOAA warned that there was a possibility, a 10% possibility of a severe geomagnetic storm that could have knocked out the North American Power Grid that happened that very week. Doubly disturbing because the day before, they amended H.R. 5026 essentially gutting the bill. Senator Kyl had a hearing before the Senate that included one of the EMP commission staff testifying about the severe EMP threat from nuclear terrorism, and trebly disturbing because every member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee received a hand-delivered appeal from the Chairman of the EMP Commission and from members of the Strategic Posture Commission, asking that they support the House version of H.R. 5026 because it was so important to protect against EMP. So I hope everybody out there will go to the EMPact America website and write an email and telephone the Senators on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to get this turned around on H.R. 5026. You know, the House is going to stand firm by its version of the bill and this can still be favorably resolved in conference. Some people think that it simply might be that the Senate wanted to just hurry up and take some action so that they could go on vacation and that they may well change their minds when they go into conference, but let us know. I hope the American people let their voice be heard loud and clear that we want the original version of H.R. 5026 and not just the very narrow bill that only protects against cyber threats. But I have gone a lot on it at too much length already when we have an important guest, Ambassador James Woolsey, former CIA Director, waiting in the wings here.
Yeah. Peter we do have just a little additional information, if you don't mind, I'll just get out and that is that we have information of how to contact some of these people that people can follow up with and also about our campaign. Maybe I should just give that information out very briefly about what people can do as far as contacting Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, Senator Jeff Bingaman, who can be reached at (202) 224-5521 and his email address is email@example.com. The ranking member is Senator Lisa Murkowski, who can be reached at (202) 224-6665, and we can get into more detail at another time, but we also have a campaign on the website for EMPact America, which is www.empactamerica.org.
Well, thank you for that, Ross. Welcome to the show Sir. It is a tremendous honor and a great pleasure, Ambassador James Woolsey. You know, the best director the CIA ever had and I know well of what I speak.
Peter, I'm honored to be here and have you all say that. I don't think that's the case, but I appreciate the kindness.
I can testify from firsthand experience that it is true because I laboured under several CIA directors when I was at the agency and he was definitely the best one, and I say that not only because I was able to brief him several times, but I knew working down in the trenches, he communicated a sense to the analysts that were there that what we did really mattered, that he was very interested in the details of what we did, and my own personal experience just confirms that. Obviously, I can't talk about what he was briefed on, but I ended up briefing him several times and it was such an awesome experience to actually to meet a director of the CIA because as an analyst who had been there for 10 years, he was the only director who was interested enough to receive briefings like that directly from line analysts, and let me tell you, that did a tremendous amount for morale. But, Sir, welcome to the show. I mean it is such a tremendous honour to have you on here.
Many thanks. I'm glad to be with you.
Now, you wrote a lot of articles for The Wall Street Journal, but one that particularly caught my eye recently, in part because of our interest here at EMPact America Radio about the EMP threat, you wrote an article on the Imperative of Missile Defense, fascinating article, that talked about the emerging missile threats that we face from Iran and rogue states, the neglect of those defenses, and in particular, I was interested in that section that talked about ship-launched EMP. Could you expand upon that a little bit Sir and...
Yeah. Yes, my co-author, Rebeccah Heinrichs, and I looked into that with some care and here is the problem. The electromagnetic pulse nuclear shot does not have to be on a missile that has gone up to its full apogee and started coming back down. Yet all of our defenses, the ones that are focused on defending the West Coast against some threats would be somewhat helpful against attacks off the East Coast or let's say Iran against the East Coast of United States. Those defenses all deal with ballistic missile interceptors that are designed to intercept either at midcourse of an attack or as the warhead is re-entering the atmosphere and the chaff and other decoys and so forth are being sorted out and slowed down by the atmosphere. None of our ballistic missile defenses yet are designed to work in the so-called ascent phase when the attacking missile is essentially going up before it turns and starts coming down. Now, as long as we are talking about defending against ballistic missiles that someday, within the next few years even perhaps, might be launched from Iran or North Korea, that limitation is understandable because if they are attacking the United States, those missiles are going to be past their mid-course and descending on us and our defensing missiles are properly designed to deal with that. They are not numerous enough, they are not in enough locations, but at least the basic missile is the right kind. On the other hand, if the North Koreans or the Iranians had a missile the size of just a SCUD, which is relatively small but still several hundred kilometer missile and put it on something like a fishing boat and got to within say 100 miles of Los Angeles or 100 miles of New York, launched it and then detonated it while it was still in the ascent phase, it could produce an electromagnetic pulse attack over a substantial share of the United States and we have nothing in the arsenal now that would be able to deal with that. What the Obama administration has done by shutting down some aspects of our defensive systems that were being constructed in Europe, in Poland, and the Czech Republic, they have, I think, weakened our defenses for the East Coast of the United States compared to what they would have been. They may enhance our ability to protect the Mediterranean and Central Europe and that is good, but they are still not working on anything that would be able to deal with a ballistic missile from something like a fishing boat being launched and detonating in the ascent phase off the East Coast or West Coast and I think that is a major, major oversight and something they need to begin to deal with immediately.
I absolutely agree with you as did the EMP Commission, which first raised this warning about ship-launched EMP. A message which I was so pleased to see you get into the Wall Street Journal article because despite the EMP Commission trying to warn about that for eight years, it still doesn't seem to have penetrated the consciousness of policymakers, that you don't need a sophisticated long-range ICBM to make an EMP attack. You can do it with a short-range missile. You could launch off of a freighter or a fishing boat, tramp steamer. You know, since things like SCUD missiles are available to anybody, terrorist groups in Yemen that have possession of SCUD missiles. You know, the Taliban had SCUD missiles in Afghanistan before we'd invaded them and there are a number of them unaccounted for. Private collectors have purchased SCUD missiles for something like $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 a piece. So, it is the kind of thing that anybody could get their hands on and so you can do an EMP attack in terms of the launch by these low techniques. The hard part is getting the warhead. And if Iran had a warhead and North Korea was willing to give you the warhead, basically the bad guys could keep their fingerprints off the attack by passing it off to a terrorist group and the Special Forces. I'm also interested in that scenario you described. I mean, what about the Gulf Coast. You know, we don't even have any large phased-array radar looking in that direction. That would seem to be a...
That's right and if we had enough Aegis ships with ballistic missile defenses on them and if we had missiles on them that could work in the ascent phase, we could construct defenses and by deploy, we deploy Aegis ships and so forth that the navy already has to defend the continent of United States against threats like this. But you have to have the right kind of missiles and the time table here is crucial. Leon Panetta has said publicly that it might be another year or so before the Iranians could have enough missile material highly enriched for a nuclear weapon and perhaps another two years before they could have a primitive nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile. But even if it is further off than that, even if as some estimates have suggested up to 2015, nonetheless, we have to move very, very fast if we are going to have ascent phase interceptors by the time the Iranians, or for that matter the North Koreans, could launch something at us from off our coasts. Now, people seem to think of EMP as such a sophisticated matter that it would have to be a very specialized warhead, but that is not true. You can certainly enhance the electromagnetic pulse effects by the way you design the warhead and that kind of sophistication may well be beyond the Iranians and North Koreans for some time, but even just a basic primitive warhead can have some rather substantial EMP effects and knock out some section of the country if it's used, and it is very frustrating not to see the government paying any attention to this type of problem.
Thank you sir. You're making all my basic points that I wanted made.
It's not accidental. As the Russian used to say, "__15:12___ of here. I learned a lot of them from you."
I hardly think so. That was another point that the EMP Commission has tried repeatedly to get through people's heads, but they have this idea that you need a weapon of special design and the Russians call them super EMP weapons. The weapons of special design that can produce an extremely powerful EMP field, but those were designed during the Cold War to attack our hardened strategic command and control against the unhardened critical infrastructures like the electric power grid, any nuclear weapon, literally. Thus, the EMP Commission concluded any nuclear weapon could potentially cause a national catastrophe. In fact, we modelled one attack. There was a Bill Radasky who is one of the leading experts on EMP. He was on the Commission staff and he described one of the scenarios that the EMP Commission did in a Space Review article that was published this summer. And he used the one-kiloton warhead, one-kiloton nuclear artillery shell, launched a SCUD off of a freighter and you put that at the right altitude and immediately it takes out half the East Coast, the whole East Coast of the United States which is where 70% of the electricity is generated, and the cascading effect because there is another misunderstanding that the only area that is going be affected is where the EMP footprint is. Well, that's not true. You know, the failures will cascade through the system and basically take out the whole country. You know, if you think about it, it just defies common sense that if you collapse the East Coast of the United States that the West Coast isn't also going to be affected. That Wall Street Journal article was just a tremendous... that was -- oh and I would just add on the ship-launched EMP, that isn't just a theoretical possibility. You know, the EMP Commission actually found evidence that Iran has actually practiced launching scud missiles off of vessels in the Caspian Sea and they've also practiced launching their Shahab-3 to apogee which is a classic signature of EMP attack, and if you are going to, a Shahab would be a good missile to use in a freighter because it's mobile. But what do you think sir, and obviously I know you can't get into sensitive matters in all of this, but in your personal opinion there's a lot of -- well, before I get to that, there is another article that you wrote about that I thought was great, National Review Online article on June 3, 2010, Parallels Between Present-Day Iran and Nazi Germany.
An excellent article that I had encouraged everybody to read. There's a fascinating passage in there, a paragraph from Ambassador Woosley's article that "The totalitarian regime that rules Iran today came to power in 1979 with substantial support among the Iranian people. Its ideology is rooted in an extreme millenarian cult of Shiite Islam and resentment of recent history. Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, and their close colleagues emphasize two twin goals: dominating the Middle East to help bring about the return of the Hidden Imam and the end of the world; and, preparatory thereto, "wiping Israel from the face of the earth." I found that the reference to the return of the Hidden Imam, I mean here is another area that a lot of people don't know about. We have had a professor from the US Army War College, Professor Cynthia Ayers, on in an earlier show and she has specialized in Jihadist ideology and talked about this. You know, you're a former director of the CIA and so clearly you subscribe to, I would say that the -- well it's actually James Woolsey view and she subscribes to your view. It is probably the more appropriate way.
I'm no expert on this, but there is an interesting point here. First of all, most Iranian Shi'a are what are called Twelver Shi'as, which means I believe that the Twelfth Imam who disappeared I guess in the ninth century when he was a little boy, hid down a well is in a state they call occultation and that he will return someday preparatory to the end of the world. For most Iranian Shia, that view is not radically different in its effect on their lives than the Jewish view that the Messiah will come or a Christian view that Jesus Christ will return. It doesn't really affect their lives in a direct and immediate way or their political behavior or whatever. It is a belief that is part of their religion. But for the smallest subset of the Iranian Shia, there is a cult called Hojjatieh and it is centered in the Holy City of Qom headed up by an Ayatollah named Mesbah Yazdi. It is extremely influential because Mesbah Yazdi is Ahmadinejad's mentor and Ahmadinejad sends a number of senior leadership of the revolutionary guard holds a real power in Iran to this school and at least an important subset of the revolutionary guard in Ahmadinejad are real devotees of Mesbah Yazdi. What is interesting about Mesbah Yazdi is that Khomeini exiled him to the school in 1979 when Khomeini took power because Khomeini thought he was too radical, this is Ahmadinejad's mentor, and the reason even Khomeini thought he was too radical is that he is the one who and his cult that believe that they should not only believes that the Twelfth Imam will return someday, but rather believe they should really work hard to get him to come back and a way they get him to come back is dominating the Middle East and exterminating the Jews. It is essentially the same program but for different ideological, but equally crazed ideological, reasons that the Nazi's had in the 1930s.
Yes. And this article draws a number of fascinating parallels between Iran and the Nazis and why -- and it sounds like we're making some of the same mistakes.
I tell you Peter, one thing that is really troubling is the weakness of France and Britain and our isolationism in the middle 30s. All of which contributed making it easier for Hitler to come to power, take the power, and increase his military capability and finally form an alliance with Stalin in 1939 and start World War II. What contributed so heavily to the weakness of the West was the inflation of the 20s followed by the depression of the 1930s. I mean in the 1930s, our American army, such as it was, was drilling with wooden rifles. We were not even close to being able to repeat our amazing record of World War I of a very quick mobilization in going to Europe's aid, and France and Britain were even worse off. Churchill was practically the only major public figure in the 1930s calling for tough stance against Hitler and Mussolini, and the classic biography of him -- multivolume biography, the volume II deals with the 1920s and 1930s and the title of that volume of the Churchill biography says it all -- the title of that volume is "One Word Alone."
This is -- I'm sorry, this is Ross Howarth with Dr. Pry speaking with Ambassador James Woolsey, a man who truly honors us by being on our program today, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Please call in with your questions or comments at 917-388-4499. All of our participants will receive an advance copy of National Geographic's Electronic Armageddon. The special features EMPact America's president Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, and our founder and chairman, Henry Schwartz, without whom, none of this, what we're doing would be possible. So, call in now. Remember to stay on the line so that the producer can get your address afterwards and send you the free DVD. We do have to go to a short break. You're listening to EMPact America with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry. We are going to get to as many callers as we can after this short break.
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Welcome back, I'm Ross Howarth here with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry and Ambassador James Woolsey. We're discussing EMP National Security. Many -- we've got a lot of callers, you know, questions that are kind of pouring in here, so I'm going to try to get some in, sprinkle them in as we go, to the extent that we can get to know many people who have circled the state under counters were Vermont and we've received a lot of email on the show. If you have a question for Ambassador Woolsey or Peter Pry, please call in now at 917-388-4499. If you don't mind, I'm just going to go to a caller now. We've got Larry from New York City. Hello, Larry are you there?
Yes, I'm here. This is -- I'm Lawrence Schiffman. I'm actually a GRP who has been doing studies at New York University and I wanted to ask you two questions. The first question is, do you believe that the US Intelligence Services are actually able to deal with what, in some instances are religious-oriented threats, or are we so used to political-type threat or not, and the second question that I wanted to ask was simply whether or not you could give some explanations for why apparently Isreal is willing to tolerate the reactor that the Russians are about to start whereas there is some indication that such reactors can be used to develop the high enriched fuel that can be used to nuclear weapon?
Those are both excellent questions. Let me take the second one first. The Russians at least have an agreement with the Iranians that they'll supply the light enriched uranium for the fuel and they'll take the nuclear waste and reprocesses it so that at least with respect to that reactor, Iran is not operating itself the fuel site, but that is of modest importance because the Iranians are enriching uranium otherwise and they are going up about 5% enriched of which would be for nuclear power and they are heading up their study for enrichment levels that will be useful in medical processes, but anybody who believes that, I got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd be delighted to sell you.
The Iranians are getting into the fuel cycle very solidly and that the nature of enrichment and other uranium is such that if you do the work to enrich up to 5% which is roughly what you would want for a nuclear power plant, you've done about two-thirds to three-quarters of the work necessary to get up to 90-95% percent which is what they would want for weapon. So, even if this particular reactor is not on a daily basis, the problem that some of the other Iranian activities are. The whole problem is letting Iran get in to the nuclear business at all and I think the Israelis are probably hoping that something will stop this and whether it's the United States or Green Revolution or something functions, but they are pretty clear right over there.
I was there talking with some of them in February and I think they realized they have months and not years before they probably going to have to make some kind of decision, maybe a year, maybe two at the outside.
The first question, I think is right at the heart of the matter. Soviets were kind of an ideal enemy for us because their ideology meant that they ran a completely dysfunctional economy and they were pretty cynical by the 1950s, by the time of Khrushchev's 20th-Party Congress speech where he laid out all of Stalin's crimes, there were probably more true believing communists in the bookstores of the Upper West Side of Manhattan that are near where you are than there were in the Kremlin. Those guys did not want to die for the principle of each according to his ability and each according to his need. They want to keep their dachas and they were basically bureaucratic thugs with the cover story and by containing them and securing them, and having our alliances and talking to them and so forth, over the years what happens is what George Kennan predicted would happen. Their system basically is self destructive and we're very lucky that a reasonably decent man like Gorbachev was in charge when it did self destruct and it degraded you know in a nonviolent way. We are in a completely different situation with the Islamists who want to establish a caliphate over the world, a religious dictatorship. Whether they want to do it by violence, like Al Qaieda, or by stealh like the Muslim Brotherhood organizations, they still are in favor of a legal system essentially that is dictatorship - a theocratic dictatorship - but a dictatorship.
But it's very hard for Americans to deal with an ideology that is an offshoot of one of the world's great religions. This is a country of religious immigrants and their children and descendants and we're not perfect, but we very rarely, particularly these days, get in to one another's religions and criticize them and so forth. Compared to other places in the world, we're pretty good about that. That also makes it harder for us to argue with someone who says, if you don't agree with my version of law, if you don't agree with Shariah. If you don't agree that we should all be headed toward a theocratic dictatorship over the world, you are an Islamaphobe and my answer to that would be, "No I'm not. I'm not opposed to Islam, but I'm opposed to Islamism and Islamists and the rule of Shariah. It is as much a dictatorship as the dictatorship of the proletariat would have been under the communists and even those who espoused it in a nonviolent way, are sort of in my view like the American Communist Party back in the 60s and 70s and 80s, you know, we let XXXX run for the President every four years, but we sure didn't let American Communists into positions of importance in the government and we made them register all the time and we infiltrated their organization with FBI agents and so on and so on. We have to be able to figure out how to deal effectively with Islamists of the stealth-variety as well as the violent ones. And if that is harder for us. It is harder now and will be harder in the future because they claim the protection of one of the world's great religions.
And the protection of the government guaranteeing all of our rights.
Thank you very much.
Following up on that, now, I have a question that I would like to follow up on continuing with the article that you wrote, the National Review Online article from June 3, 2010, Parallels Between Present-Day Iran and Nazi Germany. I thought that article proved prescient because shortly after you wrote it Sir, Ahmadinejad in a very Nazi-like way that publicly claimed that you had special knowledge that the United States is planning to attack Iran in three months, which sounded so much like the Nazi conspiracy theories that justified the invasion of Poland where they actually staged the Nazi where they went into Poland, you know, a mock attack that supposedly pulls me on Germany.
So, do you think they'll engage in aggression against the Pole.
Yeah. Very good point Peter. Exactly.
And Iran, I meant disturbingly, you know, we keep getting -- there's this information that keeps leaking out. You know, they have been conducting military exercises to get ready for the alleged US invasion. They're digging mass graves for US servicemen in Iran getting ready for the mass invasion. I find this extremely -- given on how you had characterized the regime, you know this radical Islamist point of view, the belief in the Twelfth Imam, you know, which sounds crazy to most Westerns, but you know this radical apocalyptic view of the world and I absolutely agree with your trepidation of that. You have these characters doing things like this. What do you make of this? Are they trying to, like in North Korea engage in just something to get us to back off on sanctions? Is it this easy to understand this sect? Or could we be fundamentally misconstruing them? Are they even more dangerous than that? Are we at risk here of -- because we don't necessarily understand their thinking process and what motivates them. Is it possible for us to be making a fundamental strategic mistake? Might this be preparation for some kind of aggression? I mean how do you see this?
I think there is a very good chance that it's a preparation of some kind of aggression and I will imagine it would be Israel, both Hezbollah and Hamas now have a large numbers of missiles or short range missiles but they can reach some of the parts of Israel, some of them all of Israel, and Israel does have those functioning ballistic missile defenses against the longer range missiles but it is very hand to defend against these very short range ones. I was a little over year ago down in the -- in the Kibbutz in Israel, just two to three miles from Gaza, and the people in the Kibbutz who were working, actually building a very clever, modern-type of wind turb for energy. Had a little bomb shelters right next to the production line in the shed and they got 16 seconds warning of a missile incoming and they would duck into the bomb shelter and the missile would detonate somewhere and then they stepped out and go back to producing another wind turb, so I really admire their courage and their persistence. But, that's sort of thing that they have to live under a great deal of time down there and it will also, I think, being the case that if -- since Iran funds and supports both Hezbollah and Hamas, that once Iran gets a nuclear weapon and feels emboldened, there is a reasonably good chance that it will encourage Hezbollah and Hamas to use their conventional ballistic -- short range ballistic missiles against Israel and of course, they learned that the place they launched their missiles from are hospitals, nurseries, kindergartens, etcetera. Complete violation of the rules of war, but people who look at those circumstances often publicly criticize Israelis, but like Mr. Goldstone, don't say a word about the violations of the rules of war that Hamas and Hezbollah in Iran funding and arming __38:09___.
Sir, this is Ross. I just wonder if I could interject one of the chat questions. They want to know as we discussed Iran and the nuclear development there, what is the situation related to elimination of the nuclear capacity? Are we reaching a point where attack is dangerous relative to the stage of development and an alternative or other action, you know, be taken?
Well, here's the problem for Israel or under some scenarios for us. It is that Iran has a complex. It doesn't -- we're not talking about a single reactor such as either the Osiraq reactor that Israelis took out in Iraq in 1981 or the single reactor in Syria that they took out in year plus ago. We are talking about the further -- it is much further away from Israel and either Iraq or Syria. And the one that is a complex of several, at least, underground facilities that it would be very difficult to strike effectively on a single strike. Now, Israel has I think one of the two best air forces in the world and the other one of course being us, but it is not a huge air force and they don't have many tankers, and they have to over fly either Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Turkey in order to get to Iran and so the chance of having more than a single strike may be very, very difficult for them, but may not be absolutely impossible but it is extremely difficult.
I'm trying to figure out how to take out this complex. The nuclear complex and to also weaken the government of Iran with a single strike. It is very difficult. Now, if the United States were willing to undertake this problem, if we decide the sanctions and the Green Revolution and everything else has failed and Iran is right over the verge of having a nuclear weapon. We know what the other candidate for president, the one I word for John McCain wouldn't done because he said, there is only one choice worse than using force and that is letting Iran have a nuclear weapon, so I think we know what he will do -- we don't yet what President Obama would do. I think the chance that he would use force is quite small but perhaps not absolutely zero.
We, however, have the capability, if we chose to exercise it, to execute much more than just a single strike. We could and if we should decide to do something like this, I think we should not attack Iranian civilian infrastructure, not attack their power grid, not attack their cities of course, but to move against every manifestation that we can reasonably move against on the revolutionary guard. The revolutionary guard controls the ballistic missile program. They control the nuclear program. They can control the training camps for the terrorist operation. They include force. They control several key of strategic industries. They control their own small revolutionary guard navy, small boats designed to close the streets of four-wheels against tanker traffic. They are essentially the ruling power really in Iran today and if one wanted to execute an effective strike against the Iranian nuclear program, it probably should not be limited to just a few nuclear installations. It should be essentially anything under the control of revolutionary guard, but not, not, not the civilian infrastructure of Iran. I think the chance that President Obama will do something like that is very, very small. I'm still retaining some hope that it is not absolutely zero.
Thank you Sir. You're listening to EMPact Radio with Peter Vincent Pry show. I'm Ross Howarth speaking with Ambassador and former CIA Director, James Woolsey. We need to take one more break, but we will be right back to take final questions. If you have a comment or question, please call into the show at 917-388-4499 or you can email us right now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're listening with EMPact Radio with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry.
Mr. President we have a national emergency. A nuclear weapon attack of ballistic missile has been launched from a freighter off the Coast of the United States. The weapon is not designed to kill Americans, at least not directly and not right away. Instead it is meant to unleash EMP, an electromagnetic pulse that destroys electronic devices and power grids as it detonates 300 miles above the United States. The single explosion unleashes electronic waves a million times more powerful than any radio signal on earth. In the United States nearly all computers, telecommunications, and transportations comes to a halt. The stock market is crippled. Bank accounts disappear. Federal officials warned EMP could paralyze America instantly returning our country to a pre-industrial age. Have they said we are hardly unprepared for it. EMP is a terrorist dream and American nightmare. As the government affairs director at EMPact America is my goal to empower the membership of EMPact to make a lasting difference in this critical arena. That's what I'll do and that's why EMPact has affecting change in Washington DC and New York City capital as far as making your voice heard. It is letting your elected officials know how you feel. This is part of EMPact America's success and ultimately this is how we will make our nation safer. Please take action on an issue that is important to you on our website at www.empactamerica.org. Simply click on the issue and follow the paths. The site offers and supports quick and easy platform where you can find information on your local and in fact, all representatives where they stand on issues that are important to EMPact and how to take action. Please join us today at empactamerica.org. I'm Scott Zylka and I'm here to help you make a difference, for your nation, for your community, for your family.
Welcome back. This is our third and final segment today. I'm Ross Howarth here with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry and Ambassador James Woolsey. If you'd like to add something or have your final question, you can call in now at 917-388-4499. Dr. Pry, Sir we have two calls, I'd really like to get to if that's okay? One of them is from someone who's tried to get in several times to our show and so I would like to bring him on at this time, if that's okay?
Certainly, by all means.
Okay. This is Thomas from New Hampshire. Thomas, you're on.
My question is about the treatment of EMP in what I call, our society, and pundits, professors, politicians, the media. From a scientific standpoint, it seems that the EMP threat is both immediate and dire yet we hear it discussed very infrequently but I think the one exception would be your column in the Wall Street Journal and I -- I never hear EMP mentioned as a campaign issue. I'm wondering if you could give us some perspective as to why you think the scientific case for EMP is so strong, but we just don't hear it discussed very much in the media or elsewhere?
Well, I think it crept up on people back in 1962 when the last atmospheric test, both Soviet and American, sort of gave evidence of this effect. People started the vacuum tube age and the society running on vacuum tubes, EMP is much less of a problem. It was something that the strategic command worried about and so, we went through the process of hardening some of our strategic assets, the President's command plane, and so forth against electromagnetic pulse, but it was always regarded as something then that if it happened it would happen in the context of a nuclear war between United States and the Soviet Union, there had been so much else going on. It was only terrible else going on. It would only be kind of sort of one aspect of that. Then one thing that snuck up on us is the information technology revolution and the computer chips and the way we communicate, both the energy and information are much more vulnerable today than our vacuum tube civilization back in 60s as it was and then I think people might have gotten organized to deal with it and in the end of the Cold War produced a kind of, you know, the happy time back there in the early 90s and through much in the 90s where people thought it was the end of history, that everything was going to work out and good ol' Boris was in the Kremlin and the Chinese were fairly quiet, and the major issues were humanitarian and that is where we used our military force for is humanitarian and the idea that we would have to deal with, say Iran and North Korea as nuclear powers was a very sort of far out thought and I think it has crept up on a lot of people and I wonder sort of where this did come from and why do we have to deal with it? I was talking to an executive of electricity transformer company not too long ago and their view was "Well, this is a government problem. The government should deal with it." And as -- but you know if the government is not dealing with it, how about producing electronic gear in such a way that it can be resilient against EMP and you know the commission says well, it will cost 1% to 3% more and it is very difficult to persuade somebody who produces, you know, transformers or run some segment of the electronics business to even spend a little bit of money unless someone is requiring it. So, it is an education process but it is taking a lot longer than I had hoped and there are very few people appears wonderful exception who are sticking in and as Allan was saying, we have got to deal with this.
I would like to add to that if I could. One of the reasons it also snuck up on us is so much of the information was basically classified for so long. The first unclassified hearings before the congress were held in 1996 and then when the EMP and the first major unclassified reports that looked at our moderate vulnerability of the EMP didn't come out until July 2004 from the EMP Commission and then they did not get a lot of attention. The subject matter, was sort of lost in the noise, as a matter of fact, the very day the EMP Commission delivered its report, the 9/11 Commission delivered its report exactly the same time and place and all the television cameras were on the other side of the Capitol Building listening to the 9/11 Commission. Then another dimension of this, which is the natural EMP threat from a great geomagnetic storm, basically the EMP Commission discovered this phenomena, proved its existence and subsequent studies by the National Academy of Sciences verified its existence. But this did not come into the public domain until 2008 and that natural dimension, the threat of a great geomagnetic storm is like a brand new concept. Now, there has been some things like Electronic Armageddon on National Geographic has done a very good documentary on EMP. So there is starting to get, you know, more public attention paid to it, but the caller is right that we have not -- you know, we have not created that critical mass of knowledge yet, you know so that this is part of people's campaign issues and it should be and that is part of what EMPact America is all about. It is trying to raise public consciousness, trying to get this problem solved.
You know, Dr. Pry before I go on to the next caller, you know, one of the things that we noticed through doing this campaign that we are doing regarding HR5026, is that you know some of the people who have done the campaign have actually gotten back to us and even forwarded us messages that they have received back from their senators and it is interesting that, you know, while some of them, of course, or many of them are form responses, some are not. They get into details. In fact, some of the people even on the committee have written back. I just wondered if you want to comment at all about that and how that, even just our efforts are raising this awareness as perhaps could become, you know, an election issue.
Well, I think that's an excellent sign. That people have gotten real responses and not just a form letter response, but from, you know, members of the Senate, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is where H.R. 5026 is right now and where it is at risk. The fact that this time of year, when they are usually on vacation, that they are actually thinking seriously these queries, is a very good sign. Because I think the Senate -- I think there are members of that committee that feel that they may have missed out, that the timing of what they did in the aftermath of the NASA and NOAA warnings about the possibility of the severe geomagnetic storm and in the aftermath of the Senate hearing that raised it, the threat of EMP terrorism, you know, that they may have done the wrong thing and so their --they respond and the fact that they are writing real letters to respond and to try to repair the damage as it were is an excellent sign. You know, at this time of year, I mean, you know, usually they are on vacation. The staff and members are out and you know -- and you can usually count on delayed responses until September, but people -- the fact that they are giving responses now and real responses are real good sign and this is an opportunity for you to really make a difference with your life, with your vote by writing a letter because there is a piece of legislation out there, H.R. 5026 that can make a difference, that could change things.
Peter, I might add one -- one quick point. One thing that is happening is people looked at the vulnerabilities of the electric grid as an interest in what is called islanding and the ability of the grid to operate in such a way that you can have micro grids and many grids within it so that if long-range transmission of electricity has gone down, at least you can still have some local generation of electricity, perhaps from renewables more likely, basically from natural gas in such a way that you could still function as a society and everything would not go. There are all sorts of reasons why, at least, I think this is an interesting and good idea, and one of them is a grid that was able to have individual parts of it function without it being all taken down by an electromagnetic pulse attack and would be something that is more resilient also against a lot of other things that can interfere with our electricity such as cyber hacking and the rest. So, this is a big issue, how to deal with EMP and its effect on the electricity grid. There are a number of other risks and dangers from this big interconnected electric grid we have got, but can be dealt with at the same time if we will just do it.
Now, I know we are running out of time in the show and before we have to go, I -- I would like you to follow up on this thread of thinking that was in your excellent article, Sir, the National Review Online article from June 3, 2010, Parallels Between Present-Day Iran and Nazi Germany. Because one of the points, and I think it is one of the most important points you have made and you kind of alluded to it in your remarks here where you mentioned that you think it is only a very small chance that the Obama administration would use force to stop Iran from getting the bomb. This does not fit in with what we did wrong with the Nazis, where our allies in the Western democracies, you know, didn't believe them. They didn't take them that they are worried about their ideology. They did not take it seriously that they would actually commit aggression. Is there not a parallel here? Because the alternative to military force, you know, the Obama administration has not said they are going to do this yet, but a lot of us feel that this is the "solution," that they are getting ready for its containment. The idea that we would be able to contain the Iranian nuclear threat, you know, as we did the Soviet threat.
Well, once the Soviet seized Eastern Europe, we did not move fast enough to save Eastern Europe, but we were able to contain the Soviet Union for four and a half decades and deter it, and it has brought the economy time to essentially undermine the structure of the Soviet state. But, I do not know that that would have worked with the Nazis and I do not know that it is going to work with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. There was a sense of fanaticism at the top levels of the Russian government. There is at the top levels of the Iranian government that is quite remarkable. It is not just ruthless and totalitarian as the communist were in the Soviet Union, but it is also highly fanatic and there were people like that running things in the Soviet world back in the 20s and 30s, but by the 50s it was a more bureaucratic,a really Nazi way. But what we are seeing in Iran, I am afraid has a lot more in common although it is from different philosophical roots. It has a lot more in common with the Nazis.
Sir, we actually only have less a minute left, so I just wanted to quickly take the time to thank you. I hope that you can come back. To sum up very quickly, Peter if you, you know, just want to close things out. We have to wrap it up because, literally, we are going be off in about 30 seconds.
I want to second that. Thanks. Thank you so much Ambassador Woolsey for coming on the show. It is such a great honour to have you here and you always have such illuminating things to say. I thank you. You know, I'm just so grateful that you were able to spare the time to share your wisdom with our audience, Sir.
Well, I was honoured to be invited and great questions and I will look forward to being with you guys some other time.
Thank you Sir.
It's good to talk.