As laid out in The New York Times on Dec. 11, Gingrich is deeply worried about a phenomenon called the electromagnetic pulse – or EMP – and is making clear that as commander in chief, he would be prepared to confront it.
“The idea is that if a nuclear weapon, lofted by a missile, were detonated in outer space high above the American heartland, it would set off a huge and crippling shockwave of electricity,” the Times reported. “Mr. Gingrich warns that it would fry electrical circuits from coast to coast, knocking out computers, electrical power and cell phones. Everything from cars to hospitals would be knocked out.”
In 2009, Gingrich wrote the foreword to a sci-fi thriller that describes an imaginary EMP attack on the United States. Scientists quoted in the New York Times article call Gingrich’s real-life warnings far-fetched. But the Pentagon says it’s prepared. [Editor's note: The original version of this paragraph incorrectly described Gingrich's role in the production of the sci-fi thriller.]
“The Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon that maintains an arsenal of ground-based interceptors ready to fly into space and smash enemy warheads, says that defeating such an attack would be as straightforward as any other defense of the continental United States,” the Times reports.