Jason Hartman is joined by long-time national security expert and author, F. Michael Maloof, to talk about how “the United States is more vulnerable than ever to an EMP attack that could shut down the country overnight, resulting in tens of millions of deaths and a 19th-century lifestyle for Americans for the foreseeable future.” Michael is the author of “A Nation Forsaken,” in which he discusses the likelihood of an EMP attack, whether from terrorists or solar activity, and exposes the government’s lack of preparation to protect the country. He also proposes practical steps that people can take to prepare against such a cataclysmic event. More details can be heard at: www.HolisticSurvival.com.
F. Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, has almost 30 years of federal service in the U.S. Defense Department and as a specialized trainer for border guards and Special Forces in select countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. While with the Department of Defense, Maloof was director of technology security operations as head of a 10-person team involved in halting the diversion of militarily critical technologies to countries of national security and proliferation concern and those involved in sponsoring terrorism. His office was the liaison to the intelligence and enforcement community within the Office of the Secretary of Defense in halting transfers and using cases that developed from them as early warnings to decision-makers of potential policy issues.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States, Maloof was detailed back to report directly to the undersecretary of defense for policy to prepare analysis of worldwide terrorist networks, determine their linkages worldwide and their relationship to state sponsors.
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Start of Interview with Michael Maloof
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Maloof to the show. He is the author of A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe. And I tell you, we’re going to dive into this with him today but this seems like a relatively simple issue to solve but if not addressed it could definitely kick us back into the stone age for a long, long time. Michael, welcome, how are you?
F. Michael Maloof: Fine, thank you. Thanks for having me.
Jason Hartman: This is a big threat. First of all, maybe explain to people. Obviously, EMP, most people know it means electromagnetic pulse, but the threats are solar flares or nuclear detonation in the atmosphere, right?
F. Michael Maloof: That’s 2 of the 3. The third would be radio frequency weapon that individuals can use which have an electromagnetic energy effect but they’re a little more directed, they’re much more localized. A radar on the back of the truck and aiming it, directing it at a car or at a bar with electronics, these basically you turn a radar into an electromagnetic weapon in effect. And pretty much like Boeing demonstrated the other day with their cruise missile that had EMP equipment that tried all of the electronics and the computers in this one building, just on a test.
Jason Hartman: But that was a military grade missile that Boeing was using, right?
F. Michael Maloof: No, it’s the equipment that’s on it. If it’s directed energy and it’s strong enough, it will have that impact. Radar, for example, you missed a microwave. And that microwave is a form of electromagnetic energy. If it’s powerful enough, it can do the job if the electronics are not protected.
Jason Hartman: What I’m getting at, though, is the ability of a small scale individual or group to do this versus a superpower with a nuclear weapon. Can a terrorist and something the size of a pickup truck with a radar dish on the back cause any real degree of trouble? Or is it really left to big things like solar flares and nuclear detonations?
F. Michael Maloof: An individual with some technical competency can do a pretty good job. There are websites that actually openly advertise on how you can get components to make an EMP weapon, how you can actually upscale it to make it more powerful. And the potential is there that you could aim it aircraft, low flying aircraft or even a building that causes disruption on one hand and maybe a diversion tactic on the other to create havoc in another part of town. Because if you jammed cars and what have you on the roads, emergency responders may have a hard time getting through, then you said as a diversionary tactic to create havoc.
Jason Hartman: Right. But diversion can be done in a whole host of different ways. It doesn’t have to be EMP. So, a pickup truck size EMP weapon can put down a building or an aircraft basically.
F. Michael Maloof: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: But it’s limited to that. It’s not gonna take down the power grid.
F. Michael Maloof: Well, you can aim it at a small grid and you can aim it at a transformer. You could conceivably do that if it’s not protected. I would add that an individual doing this, it will go unnoticed because there’s no bang, there’s no trick.
Jason Hartman: And there’s no explosion, either, right? It just fries the circuits.
F. Michael Maloof: That’s right.
Jason Hartman: Talk about the big threat, solar flares, nuclear weapons. North Korea is really rattling the saber again lately. I just cannot believe the sheer stupidity of that country. I read an article yesterday – how disgusting is this – North Koreans are now so hungry that they’re eating their children, literally. This has been known to happen in rural China, especially daughters. I’m amazed that that country can hold it together being so secretive and dictatorial. It’s just amazing in this world they can maintain control of those people.
F. Michael Maloof: It’s been my experience, and I was with the defense department for 23 years, and let me tell you they’ve always been concerned about such countries as North Korea. North Korea is totally out of control. Not even its closest friend, China and Russia, can fully control that country. And that’s why there’s such a loose cannon. You’ve really gotta be concerned about what they do. For example, this latest test that they conducted with the 3 stage rocket which was projected and assessed by the intelligence community to be able to reach the west coast.
Now, what they also did was something else very intriguing. They [0:06:47.8] a package and that package could be a nuclear weapon. And we know from years ago, and the UN through an investigation confirmed this, that they received the blueprints to miniaturize a nuclear weapon from the Pakistanis. And the Pakistanis, of course, have nuclear weapons. They’re not under any international control regime, yet we tolerate it. And also we have nuclear weapons and delivering capabilities. And so this make the whole world seem very, very uneasy.
Jason Hartman: And when you say miniaturized, do you mean a suitcase nuke?
F. Michael Maloof: No, an ability to make a nuclear weapon that can sit on a missile. That’s a whole other level of technology that we did not assess that they have. But I know they’re working now that they’re announcing that they’re going to be conducting some more tests and the thinking is that that’s what they’re testing for. They are smaller blasts and we think that they’re working on miniaturization.
Jason Hartman: Wow, amazing. I guess the important thing to do is to first understand, in the United States, how many power grids do we have? When you say a power grid, that’s one area that’s covered by, what, the same generating station? The same transformer array? What does that mean?
F. Michael Maloof: As I basically understand the national grid system, it’s a whole series of grids fashioned together and they share power. They have transformers that transfer the power from one area to another and then on down, the smaller transformers that actually can reduce the power down to the household level so that you can use the power. But we have massive generators, which if they are knocked out, could actually stop any further transmission of any juice anywhere.
Jason Hartman: So, what would be the potential outcome here? A solar flare or a nuclear detonation and then one generating station goes out, a whole group of them go out? How much geography could be affected?
F. Michael Maloof: Let me give you an example. NASA has raised alarms. Not alerts, but warnings that we’re in for a highly intense solar storm maximum this year and next only because the sun has reached its 11 year peak. They have an 11 year cycle, and now it’s beginning to peak again. The problem, what NASA is saying, as well as the National Academy of Sciences is that if we had a direct hit, some of these flares can be 3 to 4 times the size of the earth. If we have a direct hit, United States alone could sustain $2 trillion in damages in the first year. It would take 4 to 10 years to recover, 160 million lives would be affected, and they estimate approximately 350 transformers, large transformers, could be knocked out. And these guys are not made in this country.
Jason Hartman: I know, I’ve heard that. They’re made in, guess where, China, right?
F. Michael Maloof: There you go. It’s a bad picture we have here.
Jason Hartman: It is a bad picture. I mean, imagine if China is the attacker. I heard also, maybe it’s a tongue in cheek, maybe it’s a joke, but we’re actually buying the boots for our soldiers from China.
F. Michael Maloof: We were buying the berets for a time. But there was such outcry. I think the boots are probably made here now.
Jason Hartman: That’s good.
F. Michael Maloof: There was a big outcry about US Military equipment being purchased. Now, what is being purchased from China is the microcircuits and what have you that go into our weapons system. And defense contractors were purchasing these counterfeit. And they could be programmed to actually die. So, that’s another aspect of this entire problem. And this was another issue that we had been looking at. And thankfully, now there’s a major US Senate investigation about this. And millions upon millions of dollars had to be spent to replace the microchips and the electronics in a lot of our weapons systems because the defense contractors cannot verify where they got them from and the reliability. And that burden was put on the US government for a time until the US government and the Defense department finally said, no, you contractors are gonna bear the cost. You bear the responsibility, so you better double check everything.
Jason Hartman: So, just going back to that geography issue. One solar flare, I suppose that could knock out one side of the earth if it’s big enough, right?
F. Michael Maloof: Yeah. It depends on where it’s hitting and if it hits The United States directly, it’s a real problem because of our high dependency on microelectronics for all of our critical infrastructures. Less developed countries won’t be as affected.
Jason Hartman: Sure, because they’re already not as dependent on electronics as we are. Now, I want to talk to you about Faraday cages. Also, I actually bought some – you can buy them on Amazon.com as little baggies. I don’t know how effective those will be, but it’s better than nothing. But let’s just talk about maybe the nuclear threats since the solar flare is a wild card. But how many grids are there? I mean, Texas has its own power grid, right?
F. Michael Maloof: That’s right. I honestly don’t know how many grids there are, but there has to be quite a number of grids throughout The United States and they’re somehow all interconnected. If a squirrel in Ohio can get fried and it knocks out the power in the East Coast, there’s something wrong. So there’s an interconnectability there that exists and so they can have the ability to transfer power from one area to another should there be an outage. And that’s been the concept. If entire sections are knocked out and entire regions are knocked out, it’s going to be very, very difficult to get timely replacement, even components, because they’ve been fried and destroyed, and to find qualified workers to work on them because those are limited.
What’s happened is that we’re relying so much on automated control systems which we call SCADAs, from the ATM to the pumping of the gas, everything, to be able to replace all of these. And even our pipelines, I mean you talk about pipelines, and of course Texas has a lot of pipelines. Now Oklahoma, [0:13:14.6] you have SCADAs that regulate the flow of the natural gas and the oil. And if they are tripped in any way, shape or form, you’re going to have leakage from the oil, possible flyers, and then you will have possible explosions from the natural gas and there have actually been instances where these SCADAs have been tripped by accident. And what were they tripped by? In one case and I believe it was the Netherlands, it was tripped by a radar on a ship 25 miles away.
Jason Hartman: Wow, that’s amazing. And the scarier part of this is that if those fires break out, of course water won’t run because virtually all of our water is pumped, except in the Plains states I guess it is gravity fed what’s up there in the water tower, but that won’t last very long anyway. And then you have a situation of where the electronic ignitions in the fire trucks and the police cars and your own car will all be fried, and those won’t…
F. Michael Maloof: They could be. There’s some question of being grounded out or something of that sort, but I think if it’s a strong enough pulse it could even overcome lightly hardened electronics. And you’re right, the secondary fires and explosions that could occur would be totally unexpected and could happen almost anywhere you have a pipeline, buried or otherwise. And it could be right under people’s houses and in communities. It could be very, very serious. I think that this is why local communities and utilities have really got to examine this carefully for such an event and see just how safe everything is and how they can protect against an EMP. And I don’t see all that effort going on right now.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, so we understand it’s a grave threat. There’s no question about that. What can be done?
F. Michael Maloof: Well, I think because the federal government’s failed us, and that’s basically why I wrote this book and I called it A Nation Forsaken, that the local communities really need to take the initiative. I was down in St. Louis over the weekend and I had a number of state legislators come up to me and just say we’re gonna look at this because we have authority over the utilities at the state level. We really want to see what they’re doing, to harden the sites and be prepared for an EMP.
And I think local communities need to take initiative as well and not wait for the federal government. It’s got to be a bottom on up rather than a top on down initiative and be able to see if their emergency facilities are in fact ready to go and up and running should there be an EMP event, but certainly there’s no more communication. Communications could be severely affected which is one of our critical infrastructures by the way. And I think that what local communities could do is basically going back to what we had back in the 1950s, these civil defense facilities that store food and water and provisions and even pharmaceuticals so that people know where to report, assuming the communications is knocked out, and be able to continue surviving. And although there will be a displacement, there will at least be survival.
Otherwise, without anything, and especially in urban areas, you could have death and starvation – hospitals, for example, patients who are on dialysis, people with pacemakers, people with other electronics that stimulate nerve systems, all of that could be knocked out because they’re all unprotected. And so I think hospitals and other emergency responders really need to form their own groups to really look at this very seriously and see how well-prepared they are.
Jason Hartman: No question about it. In terms of the grid and the governmental side of it, you had mentioned before when we were talking before we record, you had mentioned that the states are really the ones that need to take the action and stop waiting for the feds. What’s going on over at the governmental level?
F. Michael Maloof: Well, at the federal level, nothing. Let’s just be blunt.
Jason Hartman: They’re too busy focusing on things that don’t work like solar and wind, right?
F. Michael Maloof: Or even government itself. Government is not functioning for us right now. This is the problem. They’re so preoccupied with other things and really we’re actually behind the power curve at the federal level. And admittedly, the utilities have a point about cost. To do something like this will be anywhere from 20 to 50 billion dollars, but it can be fixed. That’s as opposed to $2 trillion in the first year of loss. I think the point is well made about what’s the lesser of two evils here. But yet there have been legislation introduced in the House in the past, but it hasn’t gone anywhere.
Trent Franks out of Arizona, a congressman, has been very courageous to introduce this legislation, but it’s not going anywhere. The Department of Homeland Security does not include EMP as one of its 15 national planet scenarios. All that it requires is the president pick up the phone and call Napolitano and tell her to get on it and make it one because those scenarios are what guide and kick emergency responders at the federal level into action in case there is a national catastrophe. And EMP is not one of them. They have them for terrorism attacks, natural causes like floods and probably forest fires and stuff like that but not for EMP. And I think that this needs to be corrected.
And they’ve admitted testimony on Capitol Hill recently that they’re not ready. They know what an EMP is, the Defense Department does, Department of Energy. And here’s the other problem. The Department of Defense relies on the National Group System by 99%. And if that goes out, the question will be how will they be able to function? Will they be able to have their communications up and running? They don’t have separate grids on the bases and what have you. So, the military hardware might be hardened to a point like the F-35s, the F-22s, the B-2s, but that’s gonna help us because invariably you’re not gonna be using those against the sun, for example.
And if they have an attack, you may not even know who attacked us. We may not be able to identify it, particularly if a missile is launched off of a ship off of one of our coasts at night and shoots a rocket up and explodes a 1 megaton bomb over a populated area at about 150 miles up it’s gonna be devastating. They’ve recovered an entire region and if it’s done like over Kansas or a little higher, it could almost reach coast to coast.
Jason Hartman: This is a scary threat. And when you talk about the solution to fix it, in the eyes of our ridiculously overspending profligate government, 20 to 50 billion dollars is nothing.
F. Michael Maloof: No, it’s a drop in the bucket. Here’s the other thought that I think they need to do. I think there needs to be a national EMP coordinator at the National Security Council that will oversee activities at the federal, state and local level and treat this as the emergency that it is and treat this with the priority that it is and ensure against it. Now, some people will say, well, you’re just yelling another Y2K. Well, we had warning about Y2K. People actually began to do something.
Jason Hartman: It’s funny that the skeptics, when you address the Y2K issue they say, well, this turned out to be nothing. Well, the reason it turned out to be nothing is because everybody acted. I mean, the Chinese government required several of their top officials managing the Y2K problem to be in the air in airplanes so that they would have their own lives at stake. You gotta love the way China operates in some ways.
F. Michael Maloof: They have an interesting perspective and approach, I have to agree.
Jason Hartman: But, let’s talk about what people can do on a personal level – write your congressman act of spread the word, whatever. But I want to talk about what people can actually do themselves. And, by that, I want to address the issue of Faraday cages. Is there a consumer product that really will work? Because I mentioned to you I typed in the word “Faraday cage” on Amazon and they have bags, sort of large size plastic bags that I purchased. They’re only 20 bucks or 25 bucks. And I put my Ham Radio inside one, and I put a regular radio inside another with extra batteries. Is this meaningful or is it just…
F. Michael Maloof: Well, the bags really are insufficient. They need to go into a larger cage, an actual cage, a full metal cage that’s seamed up and a pulse of any kind cannot get in. There can’t even be a wire.
Jason Hartman: Let me just address that for a moment. The reason, honestly, it may work if the blast is far enough away or weak enough. If it’s close, you need more protection. So, this is an [00:22:05], it’s kind of like a better than nothing. And the other thing someone can do is use the Earth, right, by burying things.
F. Michael Maloof: Use the Earth? You mean burying it? Yeah, they could.
Jason Hartman: Well, the Earth is a pretty good insulator for an EMP, isn’t it?
F. Michael Maloof: Yeah, absolutely. It would have to be deep enough.
Jason Hartman: And the question of how deep is the answer nobody knows because it depends on the size of the blast and the proximity.
F. Michael Maloof: Who knows how deep it will go? But even in a building with many walls, that offers some protection but the walls have got to be thick. They provide some level of protection when you want to have your protected devices well surrounded by other insulation. That’s gonna be the key. In my book, I go into detail on what people can do on a personal level in terms of go bags and what they need to have in there, including firearms. You’re gonna have to protect your family and your property. The have nots are really gonna be out and running.
Jason Hartman: Sure, but that kind of stuff is just traditional survival. I want to talk specifically about the EMP. We’ve had several guests on the show that talk about urban survival and so forth and all of those things are well taken. I was just kind of addressing the EMP issue specifically. Is there anything else there that someone can do?
F. Michael Maloof: Even the microwave is not sufficient because you’ve got that glass. It’s not gonna be sufficient. A refrigerator is a possibility if you can steam it up. I was talking to a British friend the other day who is an engineer and he said a refrigerator conceivably could be used because it’s metal all around, but again the seals, the seams would have to have sealed mesh on top of mesh at the places where the openings are. And you cannot have any wires come out of the refrigerator.
Jason Hartman: Ah, because the wire is the conductor, interesting point – and certainly not plugged into the power grid in the wall, right?
F. Michael Maloof: Absolutely not.
Jason Hartman: Here’s a question for you and I think I know the answer but I just wanted to run it by you. Is there any lingering effect? Say, for example, there is an EMP, whether it be solar flare or nuclear, and you have your electronics protected, refrigerator, underground, Faraday cage, can you instantly pull them out or is there some lingering electrical energy in the air for a certain amount of time?
F. Michael Maloof: I would wait because back in 1859 there was the telegraph and they unplugged the telegraph and it still arcs from the intensity of the solar storm. There was a solar storm by which they regard as the most intense to date. And notwithstanding, having unplugged the thing and disconnected the telegraph, it actually continued running because of the arcing. And these are charged particles all around. And until those charged particles dissipate, they’re gonna be around for a while, so you just have to wait. I don’t know what the length of time is that you wait, but again it depends upon the intensity.
Now, whether it’s happened in The United States or a rather intense hit and there were 3 days of aurora borealis seen from The United States into Europe and so, yeah, that’s how intense it was. And it just went on for 3 days. So, that was an incredible hit. And as I said earlier, some of these solar flares can be 3 to 4 times the size of the earth.
Jason Hartman: Amazing. That’s just incredible. Well, hey, give out your website and tell people where they can learn more.
F. Michael Maloof: The book itself is available on Amazon.com or WND.com and if they have questions…
Jason Hartman: And the name of the book?
F. Michael Maloof: It’s called A Nation Forsake: EMP: An Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe. It’s a short book and it’s very highly readable. I kept it short and readable so people would understand it. And it’s really a call to action. And I talked about what people can do at the local level with their local officials, their emergency coordinators to at least do something at the local level and not just be sitting ducks.
Jason Hartman: Well, makes a lot of sense, Michael. Thank you so much for joining us today and spreading the word about this very important issue, the EMP threat. It’s really important that people understand it and get active. And let’s hope that our leaders start paying attention to it.
F. Michael Maloof: Thank you very much for having me.
Jason Hartman: Alright, appreciate it.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individualized advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.
Transcribed with Ralph
Guest: F. Michael Maloof
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