Category Archive 'Iranian Nuclear Threat'
29 Jun 2010

Strike Coming on Iran?

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Gulf News (Bahrain), in English, passed along a report from its sister Arabic paper, describing a US/Israeli military build-up in preparation for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel is massing warplanes in the Caucasus for an attack on Iran, it was revealed yesterday.

Preparations are underway to launch the military attack from Azerbaijan and Georgia, reports our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej, quoting military sources.

Israel was, in fact, training pilots in Turkey to launch the strike and was smuggling planes into Georgia using Turkish airspace, they said.

However, Turkey was unaware of Israel’s intention of transferring the planes to Georgia, the sources said.

The unexpected crisis between Israel and Turkey following an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza Strip hit Israeli calculations.

Azerbaijan-based intelligence units, working under the cover of technicians, trainers and consultants, have helped with the preparations, the sources said.

Military equipment, mostly supplied by the US, was transported to a Georgian port via the Black Sea.

Georgian coastguard and Israeli controllers are co-operating to hide the operations from Russian vessels, said the sources.

They point out that according to Israel, it will not be in a position to launch a strike on Iran without using bases in Georgia and Azerbaijan due to the limited capabilities of its nuclear submarines stationed near the Iranian coast.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Press TV reported that a very large contingent of US ground forces had massed in Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border. The independent Azerbaijani news website Trend confirmed the report.

Those reports came just days after the Pentagon confirmed that an unusually large fleet of US warships had indeed passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal en route to the Gulf. At least one Israeli warship reportedly joined the American armada.

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DEBKAfile has similar reports going back to a week before today:

Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern border, DEBKAfile’s military and Iranian sources report. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. …

Other Iranian sources report that in the last few days, Israel has secretly transferred a large number of bomber jets to bases in Azerbaijan, via Georgia, and that American special forces are also concentrated in Azerbaijan in preparation for a strike.


DEBKAfile
also notes that the US has stationed a third carrier group in the vicinity of Iran.

Debkafile’s military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran’s shores. It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.

And also notes in its paid-subscription version that Hillary Clinton will soon be making whirlwind visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia an Armenia.

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It is very difficult to picture the Obama Administration reaching an internal consensus allowing it to initiate a preemptive military strike on another country. If Barack Hussein astonishingly ate his Wheaties one morning and suddenly experienced an attack of testosterone, any attempted serious US action would almost certainly be preceded by tearful resignations, leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times, and aggrieved editorials on FireDogLake. But… life is strange, human nature is unpredictable, one never really knows.

More likely, all this represents a calculated bluff intended to force Iran to resume negotiations.

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Ha’aretz quotes Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as telling reporters on Saturday that “the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively.”

18 Apr 2010

The Emperor Has No Strategy

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Much like the Emperor in the fairy tale who had no clothes, Barack Obama has received a wake-up call in the form of a secret memo from his own Secretary of Defense warning that his administration has no strategy for coping with a nuclear Iran.

Of course, in this case, it is the United States, her civilian population and her allies, who are naked and embarrassed by exposure to the threat of nuclear blackmail or actual attack by surrogates of the fanatical Iranian regime.


New York Times
:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.

One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as “a wake-up call.” But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

In an interview on Friday, General Jones declined to speak about the memorandum. But he said: “On Iran, we are doing what we said we were going to do. The fact that we don’t announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesn’t mean we don’t have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies — we do.”

But in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon — fuel, designs and detonators — but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.

In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a “virtual” nuclear weapons state.

According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran’s power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.

31 Mar 2010

“Tune in, Iran”

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An unnamed (presumably liberal) official working in non-proliferation comments with indignation about Iran’s refusal to stop building nukes despite futile efforts by the current administration to bribe and cajole them into cooperating. The new CIA Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center 721 report makes it clear that they are ignoring the Obama Administration, the UN, and bien pensant liberals everywhere and going right ahead with developing all the WMD and delivery systems they can. Members of the comfortable and contented Western haute bourgeois establishment consistently indulge in the fallacy of supposing that foreign adversaries of the United States are at heart reasonable, well-meaning people like themselves who underneath it all really just want to get along with everyone. Of course, despotic totalitarian regimes don’t want to get along, they want to win.

Bill Gertz reports:

Iran is poised to begin producing nuclear weapons after its uranium program expansion in 2009, even though it has had problems with thousands of its centrifuges, according to a newly released CIA report.

“Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so,” the annual report to Congress states.

A U.S. official involved in countering weapons proliferation said the Iranians are “keeping the door open to the possibility of building a nuclear weapon.”

“That’s in spite of strong international pressure not to do so, and some difficulties they themselves seem to be having with their nuclear program,” the official said. “There are powerful incentives for them to close the door completely, but they are either purposefully ignoring them or are tone deaf. You almost want to shout, ‘Tune in Tehran.'” …

During the first 11 months of last year, the main uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz produced about 1.8 tons of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride, compared with about half a ton the previous year.

The number of centrifuges at Natanz increased from about 5,000 to 8,700 last year, although the number reported to be working is about 3,900, indicating the Iranians are having problems with the machines. The centrifuges enrich uranium gas by spinning it at high speeds.

Last year, Iran disclosed it is building a second gas-centrifuge plant near the city of Qom that will house an estimated 3,000 machines. U.S. officials have said the Qom facility, which was discovered in 2007, is a clear sign Iran’s nuclear program is geared toward producing weapons, because the facility is too small for nonmilitary uranium enrichment.

Iran also continued work last year on a heavy water research reactor.

On missiles, the report said Iran is building more short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and stated that “producing more capable medium-range ballistic missiles remains one of its highest priorities.”

Three test flights of a new 1,240-mile-range Sejil missile were conducted in 2009, the report said, noting that assistance from China, North Korea and Russia “helped move Iran toward self-sufficiency in the production of ballistic missiles.”

The report also said that Iran has the capability of producing both chemical and biological weapons, and Tehran continued to seek dual-use technology for its bioweapons program.

19 Mar 2010

Obama Administration Blocks Bunker Buster Delivery to Israel

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The World Tribune reports that the Obama Administration is punishing Israel by denying it the necessary tools to serve as America’s surrogate in destroying Iran’s nuclear capability. How absolutely brilliant.

The United States has diverted a shipment of bunker-busters designated for Israel.

Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.

“This was a political decision,” an official said.

In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.

“All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010,” a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. “This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly.”

Obama’s recent creation of a relations crisis with Israel is, of course, yet another flagrant example of the open and insolent implementation of precisely the kind of hard-left ideological policy agenda that he assured the voting public back in 2008 played no part in his future governing intentions. Good-bye, moderation once again.

24 Oct 2009

First Time Happenstance, Second Time Coincidence

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The third time is enemy action, asserts the old Intelligence Community saying.

The Mirror:

A British nuclear expert taking part in disarmament talks with Iran has died in mysterious circumstances at a UN building in Austria.

Timothy Hampton, 47, plunged to his death from the 17th floor and was found in a stairwell just hours before high-level discussions were due to resume in Vienna.

Investigators said they have not ruled out murder or suicide, but local sources said no suicide note was found.

Police are also investigating the death of another Brit who fell from the same building four months ago.

The third such incident will be very hard to take for just another accident.

06 Sep 2009

Debkafile: Iran Will Have Nukes by February

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Mossad leak channel Debkafile says that Western irresolution has given the mullahs enough time for their recent furious buildup in nuclear development activity to bring Iran within imminent reach of its ambitions.

Tehran has (taken) the longest strides towards its objective than at any time since its program was surreptitiously launched.

The progress confirmed by our sources consists of four major steps:

1. Iran has succeeded in secretly combining uranium processing, airborne high-explosive tests and work on designing a missile cone to fit a nuclear warhead, according to Western intelligence updates.

2. The conflicting reports on the amount of uranium enriched and number of fast centrifuge machines in operation obscure the following hard facts: The Iranians have doubled the number of ever faster centrifuges that are working at their enrichment plants.

They are moreover completing tests on a more advanced homemade centrifuge, the IR4, which will halve the time taken for converting low-grade enrichment uranium into weapons-grade material.

3. By February 2010 – and some say sooner – Tehran will have stocked enough high-grade enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs.

4. Iran has also gone into home production of nuclear fuel rods for plutonium.

27 Mar 2009

DEBKAFile: Iran Waiting to Build 10-12 Nukes, Already Has Ballistic Missile Delivery Capability

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DEBKAFile‘s latest rumor ought to be alarming to people residing in Manhattan.

Israel’s AMAN military intelligence director, Maj. Amos Yadlin updated the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee on the state of Iran’s nuclear progress Wednesday, March 25. He reported that although Iran is only months away from a capacity to make a nuclear bomb and has attained a warhead capability, Tehran has decided not to cross the threshold so as to avoid provoking Western retaliation.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources report this is not Tehran’s true rationale. The Iranians are held back by two more compelling motives:

1. They will not be satisfied with a single nuclear bomb, but would rather build up an arsenal of 10 to 12 bombs and warheads for which they are short of enough enriched uranium at the moment.

2. Tehran is no longer deterred by fear of an American or European attack, Yadlin explained in his briefing Wednesday. Its leaders are standing by to see what rewards are on offer from US president Barack Obama for improving Washington-Tehran and how they may profit in strategic, diplomatic and economic terms. If the American incentives fall short, Tehran can push ahead with its nuclear weapon. …

Until now, both Western and Israeli experts maintained Iran has not yet acquired the technology for mounting nuclear warheads on missiles. Yadlin now reveals Tehran is already there, a conclusion reached after the Iranians sent their first earth satellite, Omid, into space on Jan. 3. The launch meant that Iran can deliver nuclear warheads by ballistic missile to any point on earth.

DEBKAFile is a mouthpiece for Israeli Intelliegence. Not all of its reports are accurate. Let’s hope this is one of those which is not.

03 Mar 2009

Obama Preemptively Surrenders to Moscow

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In a move that makes former president Jimmy Carter look manly, Barack Hussein Obama has launched a secret diplomatic initiative aimed a trading European security for a little Russian help with his Iranian problems.

In return for a bit of restraint on Russia’s part in selling rifles to the Indians, the United States would concede the vital Russian strategic interest of being able to conduct its diplomatic relations with Europe at the point of an array of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles aimed at Europe’s principal population centers.

The Russian News and Information Agency Novosti could scarcely conceal the note of triumph in its news dispatch.

Washington has told Moscow that Russian help in resolving Iran’s nuclear program would make its missile shield plans for Europe unnecessary, a Russian daily said on Monday, citing White House sources.

U.S. President Barack Obama made the proposal on Iran in a letter to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, Kommersant said, referring to unidentified U.S. officials.

Iran’s controversial nuclear program was cited by the U.S. as one of the reasons behind its plans to deploy a missile base in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic. The missile shield has been strongly opposed by Russia, which views it as a threat to its national security. The dispute has strained relations between the former Cold War rivals, already tense over a host of other differences.

The leaders have exchanged letters and had a telephone conversation since Obama was sworn into office in January, Kommersant said. The first high-level Russia-U.S. meeting will take place later this week, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva.

Moscow has not yet responded to the proposal by Obama, the paper said, adding that a decision was unlikely to be made during Lavrov and Clinton’s meeting.

Maybe it’s not enough, Barack H.. Why don’t you try offering to give them back Alaska, too?

17 Feb 2009

Israel Waging Covert War Against Iran

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Today’s Intel leak in the British Telegraph provokes curiosity about the leakers’ intention.

Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran’s nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed.

It is using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime’s illicit weapons project, the experts say.

The most dramatic element of the “decapitation” programme is the planned assassination of top figures involved in Iran’s atomic operations. …

Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst with Stratfor, the US private intelligence company with strong government security connections, said the strategy was to take out key people.

“With co-operation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear programme and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” she said.

“As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result.”

Mossad was rumoured to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007.

Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli “hits”, intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the programme, according to Western intelligence analysts.

“Israel has shown no hesitation in assassinating weapons scientists for hostile regimes in the past,” said a European intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. They did it with Iraq and they will do it with Iran when they can.”

Is all this by way of being a pouting spooks’ spoiler intended to rein in Israeli efforts too violent and extreme for thin-blooded liberals in the Agency? Or is it actually a warning to the mullahs that the covert gloves are off and Mossad is going to do the wet work with Washington’s blessing?

Meanwhile, DEBKAfile (the Mossad press blog), was hinting darkly about the mysterious fate of an American doctor of Iranian extraction.

Iranian media this week offered a glimpse into the purported double life of an Iranian-born American physician alleging he was a secret bio-weapons scientist. They reported that Dr. Noah McKay (formerly Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi) died in mysterious circumstance Saturday, Feb. 14 aged 53, vaguely accusing “intelligence agencies” of causing his death. …

The Iranian reports only hint that he may have met a similar fate to the British ministry of defense’s bio-weapons expert Dr. David Kelly, whose body was found in an Oxfordshire wood on July 17, 2003.

This close conjunction of two quick tours of Israeli Intelligence’s trophy room seems to argue that the intent is to send a pretty explicit message indicating that conspicuous involvement in Iran’s WMD procurement efforts poses a significant hazard to one’s health.

14 Oct 2008

Nuclear Proliferation and the Left

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James Lewis, at American Thinker, explains how the domestic and international left are responsible for Iran and North Korea becoming nuclear powers.

The single most suicidal action by the Left has been its years of assault on President George W. Bush after the overthrow of Saddam. It has often been pointed out that every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq. UN inspectors like David Kay repeatedly said so. Democrats and European socialists alike repeated warned about the danger of Saddam’s weapons programs, knowing full well that his first nuclear reactor was destroyed by an Israeli air raid as long ago as 1981. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and even the UN’s El Baradei pointed out the danger.

As we now know, Saddam has had 500 metric tons of yellowcake uranium in storage since 1992. But George W. Bush was assaulted by the Left, in the person of Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and the New York Times editorial page, allegedly because Bush peddled the lie that Saddam wanted to obtain yellowcake uranium. But there was no lie; the whole phony brouhaha was a PR assault to destroy the credibility of the Bush administration. The end result was to make us helpless in the face of more nuclear proliferation. To slake its lust for power the Left was more than willing to sabotage our safety.

Did Saddam pose a plausible threat of nuclear weaponization? Of course he did. Did he pose an actual threat? That is, did he actually possess WMD’s ready to mount on missiles in a matter of hours, to shoot off at his enemies? Today’s conventional wisdom is that he did not. But that is pure post-hockery.

George W. Bush has been crucified for five long years in the media, by the feckless, hysterical and cowardly Europeans, by the United Nations, and of course by the Democratic Party, because he took the only sane action possible in the face of the apparent WMD threat from Saddam. Because presidents don’t have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. They cannot wait for metaphysical certainty about threats to national survival and international peace. There is no such thing as metaphysical certainty in these matters; presidents must act on incomplete intelligence, knowing full well that their domestic enemies will try to destroy them for trying to save the peace.

But that is water under the bridge by now. What’s not past, but rather a clear and present threat to civilization are the consequences of the unbelievable recklessness of the International Left — including the Democrats, the Europeans, the UN, and the former communist powers. Because of their screaming opposition to the Bush administration’s rational actions against Saddam, we are now rendered helpless against two even more dangerous challenges. With Saddam there was genuine doubt about his nuclear program; the notion that he had a viable program was just the safest guess to make in the face of his policy of deliberate ambiguity. In the case of Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il there’s no guessing any more. They have nukes and missiles, or will have within a year.

The entire anti-proliferation effort has therefore been sabotaged and probably ruined by the Left. For what reason? There can be only one rational reason: A lust for power, even at the expense of national and international safety and peace. But the Left has irrational reasons as well, including an unfathomable hatred for adulthood in the face of mortal danger. Like the Cold War, this is a battle between the adolescent rage of the Left and the realistic adult decision-making of the mainstream — a mainstream which is now tenuously maintained only by conservatives in the West.

31 Aug 2008

Rumors of War

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Israeli Intelligence mouthpiece Depkafile, on Saturday, posted a rumor of the withdrawal of Dutch Intelligence assets from Iran in the face of an impending US attack.

A Dutch AIVD Secret Service ultra-secret operation underway in Iran in recent years has been halted and an agent recalled in view of “impending US plans to attack Iran,” within weeks, writes Joost de Haas, known for his good intelligence contacts, in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

The AIVD operation aimed to infiltrate and sabotage the weapons [and nuclear] industry in the Islamic Republic.

According to intelligence sources in the Netherlands, the US [or Israel] was expected to make a decision within weeks to attack nuclear plants with unmanned aircraft, used to avoid risking the lives of air crews and warplanes.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report this would be the first time drones operated by remote control were used against major strategic targets, necessary in Israel’s case to hold its air fleet and flight crews ready to defend the country against reprisal from Iran’s allies. Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah have stockpiled thousands of rockets for this purpose.

The Iranian targets to be bombed would include also military installations brought to light partly by the Dutch espionage operation, described by De Telegraaf as extremely successful. “One of the agents was able to infiltrate the Iranian industry” and for years shared information with the American CIA. “Various supplies could also be sabotaged and stopped. These were parts for missiles and launching equipment.”

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The deputy chief of Iran’s Armed Force HQ is warning that any attack on Iran will lead to world war and the elimination of Israel.

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And Pakistan’s Daily Times is editorializing against such an attack.

A British newspaper has reported that the US may be about to launch a blitz against Iran “as the last resort” to block Tehran’s efforts to nuclearise. It says the preparations in the Pentagon are not just war-games but the plan is to actually make the strike. The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B-2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000 pounds of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices.

the original story is attributed elsewhere to the Friday edition of Sunday Telegraph, a sister paper of the Telegraph, but I couldn’t find it on-line.

29 Jul 2008

Iran Plotting Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse Attack on the US?

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We didn’t read about any of this in the Times or the Post.

But George Hulme, author of Information Week’s Security Weblog, earlier this month (7/9) took this potential threat to US National Security seriously.

Congress will be hearing testimony on a potential attack that could shut down most every electronic device, everywhere, and render the entire U.S. power grid dysfunctional for months, if not for more than a year.

The House Armed Services Committee will be getting an earful of testimony from William R. Graham, who was President Reagan’s science adviser and is the current chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.

Simply put, an Electromagnetic Pulse attack would occur when a nuclear weapon is discharged at a very high altitude. The explosion affects the ionosphere and Earth’s magnetic field in such a way as to cause an electromagnetic pulse to rush down to the surface. That pulse then bakes just about every electronic device within a very wide geographic area. By some estimates, a single device detonated over Kansas could cripple the nation’s entire technical infrastructure.

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Kenneth Timmerman reports that Graham’s testimony was downright alarming.

Iran has carried out missile tests for what could be a plan for a nuclear strike on the United States, the head of a national security panel has warned.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests.

One group of tests that troubled Graham, the former White House science adviser under President Ronald Reagan, were successful efforts to launch a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea.

“They’ve got [test] ranges in Iran which are more than long enough to handle Scud launches and even Shahab-3 launches,” Dr. Graham said. “Why would they be launching from the surface of the Caspian Sea? They obviously have not explained that to us.”

Another troubling group of tests involved Shahab-3 launches where the Iranians “detonated the warhead near apogee, not over the target area where the thing would eventually land, but at altitude,” Graham said. “Why would they do that?”

Graham chairs the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, a blue-ribbon panel established by Congress in 2001.

The commission examined the Iranian tests “and without too much effort connected the dots,” even though the U.S. intelligence community previously had failed to do so, Graham said.

“The only plausible explanation we can find is that the Iranians are figuring out how to launch a missile from a ship and get it up to altitude and then detonate it,” he said. “And that’s exactly what you would do if you had a nuclear weapon on a Scud or a Shahab-3 or other missile, and you wanted to explode it over the United States.”

The commission warned in a report issued in April that the United States was at risk of a sneak nuclear attack by a rogue nation or a terrorist group designed to take out our nation’s critical infrastructure.

If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure, the report warned.

While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near-term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city.

“The first indication [of such an attack] would be that the power would go out, and some, but not all, the telecommunications would go out. We would not physically feel anything in our bodies,” Graham said.

As electric power, water and gas delivery systems failed, there would be “truly massive traffic jams,” Graham added, since modern automobiles and signaling systems all depend on sophisticated electronics that would be disabled by the EMP wave.

“So you would be walking. You wouldn’t be driving at that point,” Dr. Graham said. “And it wouldn’t do any good to call the maintenance or repair people because they wouldn’t be able to get there, even if you could get through to them.”

The food distribution system also would grind to a halt as cold-storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline. Even warehouses equipped with backup diesel generators would fail, because “we wouldn’t be able to pump the fuel into the trucks and get the trucks to the warehouses,” Graham said.

The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country.” except that we would have 10 times as many people with ten times fewer resources, he said.

“Most of the things we depend upon would be gone, and we would literally be depending on our own assets and those we could reach by walking to them,” Graham said.

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Dr. Grahams’s prepared testimony warned:

Several potential adversaries have the capability to attack the United States with a high altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse, and others appear to be pursuing efforts to obtain that capability. A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. For example, an adversary would not have to have long-range ballistic missiles to conduct an EMP attack against the United States. Such an attack could be launched from a freighter off the U.S. coast using a short- or medium-range missile to loft a nuclear warhead to high-altitude. Terrorists sponsored by a rogue state could attempt to execute such an attack without revealing the identity of the perpetrators. Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism, has practiced launching a mobile ballistic missile from a vessel in the Caspian Sea. Iran has also tested high-altitude explosions of the Shahab-III, a test mode consistent with EMP attack, and described the tests as successful. Iranian military writings explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States. While the Commission does not know the intention of Iran in conducting these activities, we are disturbed by the capability that emerges when we connect the dots.

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