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by John C.K. Daly
UPI International Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Jun 22, 2006
A former Pakistani intelligence agent who once worked closely with Osama bin
Laden says that the U.S. may well be attacked with electro-magnetic pulse
bombs. During a June 22 interview with Adnkronos International news agency
Khalid Khawaja said, "The e-bomb shall be the new threat for the USA, not the
nukes or gas attacks."
Khawaja is a retired former member of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, or
ISI. After retiring, he went to Afghanistan and fought with bin Laden. Khawaja
said of bin Laden, "Osama is above all this politicking. He is a great man and will
remain great." Khawaja is said to retain close ties with Kashmiri militants and
former Taliban leaders. ~snip~
Khawaja told the news agency that he overheard the reference to the e-bomb in
several conversations among Arab fighters in Afghanistan over the years after the
Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Originally posted by xmotex
I really doubt a terrorist organization could pull off a "doomsday scenario" HEMP attack.
There's miles of difference between 'doubt' and 'possibility'. You wouldn't think that North America has forty or so years of home-grown terrorist attacks on its own soil, but here we are. As hard as it may be, it CAN be done, which should be more than a little terrifying due to the unaccounted for Soviet adn Russian military equipment just kicking around nowadays.
Not only would they have to get their hands on a high-yield nuke, but they'd have to get their hands on an ICBM to launch it.
Don't those usually come in a package, or at least in proximity? Anyways, could not an older nuclear warhead's yield be improved using various methods, such as tritium injection?
Then they'd have to figure out how to program the missile's targeting system. Then they'd have to get accurate & current data on the upper atmospheric conditions over the central US in order to detonate the thing at the proper altitude to get the HEMP effect.
As my external image denotes, the optimal height for a large thermonuclear attack is apparently 500km into the atmosphere, which is technically beyond the Karman Line and thus not atmospheric at all. The only issue would be putting the damn thing into near-orbit. The resulting blast would also obliterate a great deal of satellites, which is not so good. Link
Frankly it would be a lot simpler, and a whole lot more likely to succeed, to simply take the same weapon, deliver it to NYC in a shipping container, and flatten the city.
As destructive as flattening NYC would be, I hardly think it compares to utterly obliterating the electronic infrastructure of the West, including its bussiensses, satellites, and information capacities.
Originally posted by xmotex
We are talking about different types of weapons.
HEMP = a nuke detonated high in the atmosphere to knock out electronics over a wide area. E-Bomb = conventionally powered generating an EMP over a much smaller area.
And the effective radii I've seen listed for conventionally driven ebombs max out at a couple of city blocks, not an entire city. Given the right couple of city blocks though, they could still cause a lot of mayhem.