Official Consensus on EMP Threat Ignored by New York Times

Big Peace

The American people deserve to know the truth about electromagnetic pulse (EMP). 

The official consensus on the EMP threat has been ignored by the New York Times (NYT), even after it received a vitally important message from President Reagan’s Science Advisor Dr. William Graham, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and a long list of other top scientists and strategic experts.

On December 12, the NYT ran an irresponsible front page story by William Broad.  The NYT, through Broad, falsely implied that Newt Gingrich’s warnings about an EMP attack–an event that could collapse American civilization with a single nuclear weapon–is, according to the NYT, based on bad science.
The same day that the NYT article ran, former Presidential Science Advisor Graham, CIA Director Woolsey, and some of the best scientists in America submitted a brief rebuttal to the NYT.  The NYT refused to publish it unless it was cut to 150 words and submitted as a letter to the editor–ridiculous, and a story of its own.
We need to set the record straight and help correct the misinformation being spread by the NYT.  I think Dr. Graham summed it up best the following day during a live show on Empact Radio when he said “…[i]n all the pieces of poor scientific and technical journalism I’ve read in the last forty-five years or so, this one is the worst–and, I admit it had some real competition…”  (PVP#79 Dr. William Graham at 4:38).  You can listen to the entire show here.
It’s important that we give Dr. Graham, former DCI Woolsey, and their distinguished colleagues–this nation’s foremost experts on EMP and national security–a chance to be heard.   Accordingly, below please find their response to the NYT’s article: “Among Gingrich’s Passions, a Doomsday Vision” by William J. Broad.

Official Consensus on EMP Threat
New York Times William J. Broad in his December 12 article “Among Gingrich’s Passions, A Doomsday Vision ” is so fixated on attempting to belittle presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that Broad does a disservice to the public by grossly misrepresenting the facts about the threat from electromagnetic pulse (EMP).  Broad falsely suggests that EMP is a concern only of the far right, that rogue states and terrorists could not perform an EMP attack, and that missile defenses would assuredly protect the United States from EMP.
EMP from a single nuclear weapon detonated high in the atmosphere could damage and destroy electronic systems nationwide and collapse the electric power grid and other critical infrastructures, that all depend, directly or indirectly, upon electronics and electricity.  EMP can also be generated naturally, by the Sun, from coronal mass ejections that cause geomagnetic storms–and rarely, every century or so, a great geomagnetic storm, that can collapse electric grids and critical infrastructures everywhere on Earth.  A nuclear EMP attack or great geomagnetic storm could collapse all the critical infrastructures–the electric power grid, communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water–that are necessary to sustain modern civilization and the lives of 300 million Americans.
In fact, a majority of Congress shares Gingrich’s well-founded concern about the threat from nuclear or natural EMP.  Last year, in a rare act of bipartisanship, the House passed unanimously the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense (GRID) Act, designed to protect the national electric grid from EMP.  The GRID Act was introduced by Democrats, Rep. Ed Markey and Rep. Henry Waxman.  The GRID Act also had majority support in the Senate and would have passed, but for the opposition of a single Senator, who prevented the bill from coming to a vote.  Bipartisan efforts to protect the United States from EMP continue, spearheaded by the Congressional Caucus on EMP, that includes liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.
President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, wrote an article in the New York Times (March 10, 2011) warning about the threat from geomagnetic storms.
Gingrich’s dire warnings about EMP are supported by numerous official government blue ribbon commissions and scientific studies, all bipartisan.  All of these have concluded independently that nuclear terrorists or a great geomagnetic storm caused by the Sun are clear and present dangers that could imperil the survival of millions of Americans.  This is the mainstream, consensus view represented by the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy and, most recently (September 2010), by a major U.S. Government interagency study led by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Not one official U.S. government study dissents from the consensus that EMP is a potentially catastrophic threat that must be addressed by protecting our nation’s power grid and other life-sustaining infrastructures.
Instead of educating the public on the official consensus view of EMP, Broad instead prefers to give a pulpit to Yousaf Butt, who is not an expert on EMP, never worked in the defense or intelligence community, has no access to classified data, and whose views were thoroughly rebutted in Space Review (August 2010).
Broad gets wrong that rogue states or terrorists would require a sophisticated intercontinental missile to make a nuclear EMP attack, and that the existing National Missile Defense would protect the United States from EMP attack.  The Congressional EMP Commission warned that terrorists or rogue states could make an EMP attack using an unsophisticated short-range missile, launched from a freighter off the U.S. coast.  Such an attack would happen so quickly, there would be too little time to intercept the missile.  If launched from the Gulf Coast, we would not even see the attack coming, as there are no Ballistic Missile Early Warning radars that face in that direction.
Broad also fails to tell his readers that Iran, North Korea, China and Russia write openly about making an EMP attack on the U.S.  Broad also fails to mention that Iran has practiced missile launches–including from a vessel at sea–that look suspiciously like training for a ship-launched EMP attack off the U.S. coast, that would enable Iran to deliver an EMP catastrophe upon the United States, anonymously.
Dr. William R. Graham served as Chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Reagan.
R. James Woolsey was former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is President of EMPact America and served on the staffs of the Congressional EMP Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA.
Dr. William Radasky is the President of Metatech and holds the Lord Kelvin Medal from the International Electrotechnical Commission for EMP protection standards.
Fritz Ermarth was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
John Kappenman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on geomagnetic storms.
Bronius Cikotas served as Chief of the EMP Division for the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency.
Dr. George Baker was the senior scientist for EMP at the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency.
[Note that the original version of the NYT article appeared in print on December 12, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: “Among Gingrich’s Passions, a Doomsday Vision,” available online here.]
According to our nation’s top experts, Yousaf Butt is not an expert on EMP.  In fact, in addition to the NYT rebuttal above and Drs. Pry and Graham’s aforementioned verbal rebuttal on EMPact Radio of Yousaf Butt’s opinions in the recent NYT’s article, Drs. Pry and Radasky previously had to set the record straight in The Space Review regarding Butt’s erroneous positions, in a rebuttal to “The EMP threat: fact, fiction, and response” (see here).
During this week’s EMPact Radio show, which featured Clare Lopez (a fellow contributor on Big Peace), Dr. Pry pointed out that “…[t]here was an even better rebuttal produced… It was provided by our Russian friends… Just a couple of days after the New York Times published the Broad article, Pravda published an article entitled “A Nightmare Scenario for America” (PVP#80 Clare Lopez at 6:45).  You can listen to the entire show here.
It should be noted that Pravda is not just any newspaper.  It’s essentially the unofficial voice of the Kremlin.  The Pravda article begins “[i]magine one day that suddenly and without warning, every single vehicle in the United States built after the 1970s was totally incapable of running. No going up to the grocery store, in fact no more food deliveries by truck anymore to your local store….”  It concludes, “[i]f Americans knew about this very real possibility, they might utterly panic…. Perhaps they ought to close the bases, dismantle NATO and bring the troops home where they belong before they have nothing to come home to and no way to get there.”  Click here to read the entire chilling article.
Unfortunately for all of us, the threat of EMP is not widely understood by the American public or its media.  Plus, the Congressional EMP Commission is not active at this time, so it can be a little more difficult to locate our nation’s top experts on EMP.  That said, EMPact America works with those experts, who formed the nation’s official position on the EMP threat (both man-made and solar) and hold the credentials that a paper of record like the NYT should include in order to present a complete picture.
EMPact America has a wealth of information from the real experts and other credible sources on our website, including source materials, videos and archived audio broadcasts.  We have been the “go to” organization regarding EMP since our founding, and have worked with everyone from Fox News to National Geographic and CNN.  We also work with local, state and national elected officials, from all parties, who have an interest in EMP (including the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on EMP that was formed earlier this year).
Since EMPact America was specifically named and described in Mr. Broad’s original article in the NYT, I can only assume that he was aware of the organization and our focus on EMP, but I can’t find any record of him contacting us.  I’ve tried to afford him the opportunity to speak with some of our experts, learn more about EMP, and set the record straight himself.  That said, based upon the obvious political slant of his EMP article and my subsequent dealings with the NYT editors regarding the same, I’m not holding my breath.  Hopefully, credible journalists will seize this opportunity to learn about EMP and inform their readers.  I encourage them to start off by re-publishing the rebuttal above, “Official Consensus on EMP Threat.”
For those interested in taking action on the EMP issue, please visit, and

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