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September 11, 2009

PUBLIC SAFETY: Huckabee's warning pulses at conference

Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee isn’t sure he wants to take another run at the White House.

However, he told more than 700 people at Conference Center Niagara Falls Thursday he is sure that America needs to take dramatic steps to avoid the possibly catastrophic effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack.

“This is a clear and present danger to our way of life in our country,” Huckabee said. “We are so dependent on electricity, its loss is a catastrophe, not an inconvenience.”

Huckabee was the keynote speaker on the second day of an EMPACT America conference exploring the threat of an EMP incident and what can be done to protect against it.

EMP is a burst of electromagnetic energy triggered by natural or manmade sources. It originates naturally from the sun in the form of solar flares, but can also be generated through, for example, the detonation of a nuclear device in the earth's atmosphere.

Some scientists have predicted an EMP incident could knock out America’s electrical, communications, transportation and other infrastructure grids for months or even years. Huckabee said while some people would sneer at and make “snarky comments” about those predictions, it did not make them less likely.

“We should not minimize the threat of EMP,” he said. “There’s always going to be cynics. There were cynics who didn’t believe the Japanese were a threat (to attack Pearl Harbor) and there were cynics who didn’t believe radical Islam was a threat.”

The former Arkansas governor said he learned firsthand about the devastation and chaos a loss of electricity can cause when an ice storm knocked out power in his home state for up to 21 days in some communities.

“There was no communication, no transportation, no heat or food,” Huckabee said. “When we were able to get in to some of those areas (by helicopter) the people there asked us what the news was and I told them, ‘You are.’ ”

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