Tec, I don’t know that it has to be a contest to see who can claim the greatest degree of cynicism. I admit mine’s way up there, with what I believe is good reason. In this case, they’ve known about the destructive power of EMP since the early Pacific nuclear tests, when automobiles suddenly stopped running on Hawaiian islands, street lights went out, etc. It’s been discussed on the floor of Congress and inserted into the Congressional Record decades ago (actually multiple times over those decades). Add to that the purging of high-level military officers that don’t agree with various administrations (this one is possibly the most prolific in its “retirements” and “reassignments,” but by far not the first). Therefore, I fully ‘get’ the term “perfumed princes” as it pertains to the most senior military officers – and therefore don’t have a reason to trust anything they say. That doesn’t mean they never speak the truth – and in this case, I fully believe they do. It just means that I don’t have fundamental trust in them, particularly because I don’t trust their motives. This is a specific Obama-appointee, trotted out to present this specific message. That raises all kinds of yellow flags at very best (leaning heavily toward full red).
So my skepticism/cynicism is based on the internal response that says, “Why now? What’s the motive?” There’s extremely little any individual citizen can do about this problem, and contacting congressmen is, as we all know, largely a joke. What I’d probably place the larger amount of money on if this was a betting issue, would be that this is part of a strategy to spend more money. That’s almost always what it amounts to anymore. $17 trillion? $19 trillion? $20+ trillion? As Everett Dirksen said (using far smaller amounts that have mushroomed in the 50 years since), “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” The warning is quite valid – the motivation is what I’m concerned about, given the speaker, the event, and the assignment.
Following is a tiny portion of a massive report on the effects of a rather low yield nuclear blast (many different scenarios are explored in the larger piece from which this was taken). The bottom line is that we’re still toast, and it’s not just having a Faraday-caged stockpile of multi-KV transformers carefully stored around the nation. Transportation of those transformers is needed, long lengths of both above- and below-ground electrical and communication lines would be out, the vehicles would be largely toast themselves, and it would take portable alternate power generation to work at each site where repairs were being made – just for starters with the cascading list of equipment that would be damaged or destroyed, yet needed as part of the rebuilding effort.
So no, I’m not going to give a highly placed Obama general or admiral (especially the NSA Chief) a lot of credibility in terms of motive or sudden attack of conscience, particularly when he was sent out to deliver this message. That’s just me. Anyone else’s mileage may vary. (The bold highlighting below is mine.)
the American 1.4 Mt Starfish test at 400-km, on 9 July 1962, induced large EMP currents in the overhead wires of 30 strings of Oahu streetlights, each string having 10 lights (300 streetlights in all). The induced current was sufficient to blow the fuses. EMP currents in the power lines set off hundreds of household burglar alarms and opened many power line circuit breakers. On the island of Kauai, EMP closed down telephone calls to the other islands despite the 1962 sturdy relay (electromechanical) telephone technology, by damaging the microwave diode in the electronic microwave link used to connect the telephone systems between different Hawaiian islands (because of the depth of the ocean between the islands, the use of undersea cables was impractical). If the Starfish Prime warhead had been detonated over the northern continental United States, the magnitude of the EMP would have been about 2.4 times larger because of the stronger magnetic field over the USA which deflects Compton electrons to produce EMP, while the much longer power lines over the USA would pick up a lot more EMP energy than the short power lines in Hawaiian islands, and finally the 1962 commonplace electronic ‘vacuum tubes’ or ‘triode valves’ (used before transistors and microchips became common) which could survive 1-2 Joules of EMP, have now been completely replaced by modern semiconductor microchips which are millions of times times more sensitive to EMP (burning out at typically 1 microJoule of EMP energy or less), simply because they pack millions of times more components into the same space, so the over-heating problem is far worse for a very sudden EMP power surge (rising within a microsecond). Heat can’t be dissipated fast enough so the microchip literally melts or burns up under EMP exposure, while older electronics can take a lot more punishment. So new electronics is a million times more vulnerable than in 1962.
The above link is extremely long, highly technical at times, but sufficiently understandable to be useful. And one of the things that is very clear is that the government has known the effects of EMPs for 60 years, and at least some of it is still classified. They’ve had ample opportunity to be forthcoming before, and have chosen not to. So why now, when we, the people, can’t do a darn thing about it? “Color me skeptical” would be an understatement!
I’ll end with another quote (part of the above link – as above, the bold highlighting is mine) from a Dr. Lowell Wood in testimony to the US Senate 11 years ago (he was discussing both solar as well as nuclear events).
“The United States, as part of its comparative advantage, no longer makes big power transformers anywhere at all. They are all sourced from abroad.
And when you want a new one, you order it and it is delivered — it is, first of all, manufactured. They don’t stockpile them. There is no inventory. It is manufactured, it is shipped, and then it is delivered by very complex and tedious means within the U.S. because they are very large and very massive objects. They come in slowly and painfully. Typical sort of delays from the time that you order until the time that you have a transformer in service are one to 2 years, and that is with everything working great.
If the United States was already out of power and it suddenly needed a few hundred new transformers because of burnout, you could understand why we found not that it would take a year or two to recover, it might take decades, because you burn down the national plant, you have no way of fixing it and really no way of reconstituting it other than waiting for slow-moving foreign manufacturers to very slowly reconstitute an entire continent’s worth of burned down power plant.”
So Congress has heard about it for decades, the military knows all about it in still-classified documents, and bits and pieces of it have surfaced in popular magazines and on various web sites. The “sudden” openness by the good Obama-appointed admiral is suspect at very best.