John Bolton: EMP Attack from North Korea ‘Absolutely Is a Threat’

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN), speaks during the American
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton warned on Breitbart News Daily Thursday that a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from North Korea “absolutely is a threat” and suggested considering military action against Pyongyang.

“A high-altitude nuclear detonation that could bring down a substantial part of the electrical grid of the United States, at least in particular geographic regions, would have a huge impact on us,” Bolton told Sirius XM host and Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow.

A successful EMP attack would overheat vital transformers and ultimately take out that region’s electric grid, leaving the population vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks. The lives of large swaths of the population would be at great risk.

Bolton said that, while people have suggested North Korea does not have the range to attack in its missiles, the thermonuclear capacity, the reentry vehicle, or guidance systems, “with EMP you don’t need really precise guidance systems. If you just detonate something, let’s say, over the West Coast of the United States, the EMP effects could be significant.”

He added, “It ties into the strategic question of what happens if North Korea fires an EMP weapon over the United States.” He said an EMP attack would cause minimal damage on the ground and possibly would not even produce any immediate casualties. “But the knock-on effects of impairing the electrical grid could be very substantial. What do you do then?”

The United States is not prepared for a potential EMP attack against it. The GRID Act and SHIELD Act have been sitting in both the House and Senate but no progress has been made in passing them.

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney also discussed a potential EMP attack with Marlow on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“It may or may not be true today” that North Korea can launch a nuclear warhead with intercontinental range, Gaffney said, “But it’s for sure the case that that’s imminent, if not actually true now.”

For the first time, North Korea has openly threatened to wage an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack against the United States.

Although North Korea threatens to wipe out the United States on a regular basis through its state media, this is the first time the closed-off country has openly threatened to use an EMP weapon.

According to the Associated Press, shortly after North Korea launched its sixth nuclear test, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un issued a statement through its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) saying claiming the weapon “is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals.”

Kim reportedly claimed that “all components of the H-bomb were homemade … thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants.”

“This is why I think we’ve got to consider the military option against North Korea first,” Bolton said. He referred back to a statement President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made on September 11, 1941, when he said, “When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until it has struck before you crush it.”

Bolton added:

People say, but my goodness if you use a military option, terrible things will happen on the Korean peninsula. And I agree that this is an enormous concern and we would have to do everything possible to mitigate that. But these same people also say, well of course if North Korea attacked the United States, then we should respond with devastating force, which would likely have the same consequences in South Korea.

He asked, “What is the difference between their position and mine if they’re insistent that before we strike there have to be dead Americans? I reject that.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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