Interview with TD Barnes

What prompted you to write about EMP?
I have an electronics background and occasion to work with electromagnetic energy at the Atomic Energy Commission's Atomic Proving Grounds in the 1960s. I realized that most people have no idea how catastrophic an EMP attack would be on the world. I try to address the human survival aspects so the reader knows what to expect and how to prepare and react.
Do you feel such an attack is possible?
Absolutely. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. An EMP attack doesn't have to come from a nuclear bomb. EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can occur in many ways. It can be radiated, electric, conducted, or magnetic depending on the source. Low level EMP occurs from lightning, electrostatic discharge, a meteoroid passing though the Earth's atmosphere, or a coronal mass ejection, a burst of plasma and an accompanying magnetic coming from a corona ejection from the sun that is picked up by solar winds. Those events are more of a annoyance, but a terrorist cell or rogue nation managing to acquire a small quantity of nuclear bomb material can build and deliver a device in a backpack, or a container box aboard a ship that will wipe out everything electrical for as far as our power grids go. EMP doesn't kill by explosive power. EMP is an energy pulse that transmits though it would, however, most likely be released by an explosion.
What preparations are being made to safeguard against an EMP attack?
It will be almost impossible to prevent an EMP attack. A weapon-generated non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NNEMP) might come in the form of a large low-inductance capacity bank that discharges into a single-loop antenna. An NNEMP can even be a microwave generator delivered as a payload of bombs, cruise missile, or even drones. In most cases, these would require chemical explosives as their energy source. These would not have the nation-wide effect of a high-altitude (HEMP) detonation of a nuclear gamma ray source that ionizes and interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. However, nations can prepare by containing the spread of the pulse. The military is aware of the threat and now hardens its electronic systems to protect them. Shielding electronics with something as simple as a A Faraday cage will protect the electronics. The cage is a container made of conducting material, such as wire mesh or metal plates, that shields what it encloses from external electric fields. Unfortunately, many of the nation's utility companies are not taking the threat of an EMP attack seriously because of the added cost. They know the EMP pulse will travel along anything that acts as an antenna, the perfect antenna be the nation's power lines. Their solution is to hope it never happens.
It there is no explosion, how will one know that such an attack occurs?
The effects of an EMP attack will be instantaneous, the damage done in less than a second. Anything that can function as an antenna will carry a pulse of such strength that it will fry any electronics it encounters. Modern automobiles with computers will cease running. The power grids will melt down, causing an instant loss of electricity. Radios, computers, and such will not function. With the loss of electricity will come the loss of water pumped to your home, no electric lights, traffic signals will cease to function. The toilets won't flush and your swimming pool will become your source of drinking water until it becomes dry.
Should one prepare by storing food for such an emergency?
Yes and no. If you store food in your home and it becomes known, you become a target. Food delivery will cease to the grocery stores and the shelves will become bare. Fathers will not allow their children to starve and if they know you have food, they will take it by whatever means necessary. And then there will be the gangs who will lay your home to siege, taking whatever they want by any way they want. There is no good answer other than be prepared to act immediately should this happen. Know where to get what you need to survive and know where you can go to defend your family and what you have. Band with others for strength in numbers, but not if they can't share with you their food, water, and necessities for survival. You and your family come first. Otherwise, you die.
Is this covered in your EMP series?
Yes. I made it as realistic as I could based on what I know.
Why, in addition to your EMP series, have you written nonfiction books about Area 51?
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Central Intelligence Agency on classified projects relating to Area 51 activities, plus the great honor of getting to work there. The CIA has, in recent years and months, declassified much of what I did at Area 51. Everything I have written about Area 51, I first presented to the agency's PRB, Publications Review Board for review. What we did at Area 51 saved many lives in combat, and played a major role in ending the Cold War. My group was instrumental in making Area 51 what it is today.
What was your group?
We were a special projects team of professionals in various fields. We started with the CIA's U-2 plane, which created Area 51. The need to develop a stealth plane to replace the U-2 fell on my group. We developed stealth and with slide rule technology, designed and built the Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird that was later replaced by the Air Force's SR-71 that most people know about. The A-12 is still, today, the fastest and highest flying manned, air breathing plane ever built. No one knew about the CIA's A-12, so the famous Air Force SR-71 claims those records, however placing a second person in the SR-71 cost it 5,000 feet altitude and considerable speed. We CIA project veterans refer to the SR-71 and "the family model." The Air Force refers to the CIA model as "Brand X."
What else did you do at Area 51 that you can talk about?
The CIA's A-12 was America's first stealth plane. We tried to make the U-2 more stealthy, but anything we did cost the aircraft altitude because of the added weight. By now, the CIA was realizing the need for more technical means of harvesting intelligence than the man on the street. It formed the Science and Technology Directorate as its 5th intelligence gathering discipline. Before the Air Force took over in 1968 with its SR-71, the CIA at Area 51 flew missions out of Kadena, Okinawa to locate surface-to-surface missile sites in Vietnam. The CIA also used the A-12 to locate the USS Pueblo and its crew seized by North Korea. We continued with developing stealth. using the CIA station and facility to aid the Air Force and Navy to develop stealth platforms starting with the Have Blue that became the F-117 Nighthawk. Everyone called it fighter because it was small and flew like a fighter. It was actually a bomber. Mainly, we started a new business at Area 51 with the Air Force, Navy, and various intelligence agencies our customers. We obtained and exploited Soviet-built aircraft, radar, etc. and used that knowledge to train our pilots to fight against Soviet aircraft and pilots using Soviet fighter tactics. What we learned at Area 51 with the MiGs inspired the Navy to start its Top Gun Weapons School and the Air Force to start conducting Red Flag training exercises, both of these continuing today.
How did your families handle all this secrecy?
At the time, we worked compartmentalized and on a need-to-know basis even among those working at Area 51. During the recruiting process, the CIA considered family stability when it selected those to work at Area 51. The secrecy was never a problem as the families knew not to ask and we knew not to tell. The CIA selection was such that even with ll this secrecy and our leaving home on Monday morning and returning Friday night, there were few divorces. The families bonded and the bond continues today. My wife learned where I worked and what I did in 2009 when the CIA invited them to accompany us to CIA Headquarters for the declassification in conjunction with the dedication ceremony of an A-12 plane mounted on campus at Langley.
What are your final thoughts on working at Area 51?
It was an honor and a pleasure to have served our nation in that capacity. The work was necessary to maintain our national security. It still is today. The aerial kill ratio against our Air Force and Navy was 9:1 against them. What we learned with the MiG program completely turned the ratio around. We lost 15 planes in one day against the MiGs. Try to recall when was the last time the US Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy lost an air battle. We haven't - not since Vietnam. One can only imagine what those at Area 51 have accomplished in the last 50 years. I'm very thankful that I can now share in my books what we accomplished. I say we, because it was a team effort, including our families who made it possible for us to do what we did.
Published 2017-07-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $5.50 USD. Words: 42,590. Language: American English. Published: April 29, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » Aeronautics & Astronautics, Nonfiction » History » Renaissance
Selecting a place called Area 51 in Nevada and beneath a shroud of secrecy, the Central Intelligence Agency first flew the U-2, the Angel knowing at the time that the Russians would most likely shoot it down within 18 months. To replace the U-2, the CIA designed America’s first stealth plane that today remains the highest flying and fastest manned, air-breathing aircraft ever flown in the world.
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 65,490. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Sabotage of the first manned flight to Mars causes an overburn that dooms the Mars mission and leaves the Explorer and crew no choice but look for a new planet or asteroid to colonize. That's what the US military and intelligence agencies want everyone on Earth to think. In truth, the Explorer was on a dual mission, one to prepare a venue for colonization and the other a militarized mission.
The Senator
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 144,170. Language: American English. Published: October 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Oil rich Hoot Hanson has so many enemies that he has a personal army known as the White Hats. He became a maverick senator to do what President Trump failed to do - drain the swamp. When the Islamic jihadist crosses the Mexican border to seize American school girls for human trafficking, politics be damned - Senator Hanson leads his White Hats in a recovery of the girls on Mexican soil.
The White Hats
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 83,980. Language: American English. Published: October 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Adventure » General
The Hanson family, Hoot, a laid-back oilman, his feisty wife, Hanna, their twin girls, and the best damn bird dog in the state think their nightmare is over. Their small, independent oil company, Hanson Oil has made them very wealthy, riches that they have yet to enjoy because of the problems brought by the notoriety of the wildcat strike. They prevail in a lengthy court battle only to face . . ..
The Wildcatter
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 101,630. Language: American English. Published: October 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Hoot and Hannah's Hanson Oil Company, struggled, always strapped for money. Everything changes when one of Hoot's wildcat wells strikes oil, a lot of oil, and with it, brings unimaginable wealth and notoriety that attracts the attention the feds, bring lawsuits, and a massacre by a homegrown cell of Islamic jihadists. All misjudge the wrath of the Hanson fighting to keep what is theirs.
CIA War Bride
Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 68,950. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Military biography, Nonfiction » History » Family history
(5.00 from 1 review)
CIA War Bride is a biography of the life of Velma and Werner Weiss, a CIA family. They meet during World War II when he and Velma are working for the CIA in England. Their work takes them to Japan where Werner managed the U-2 surveillance plane detachment deployed from Area 51. The author worked with Werner Weiss at Area 51 and was a close friend of Velma Weiss until her death
The Company Business
Series: The CIA Area 51 Chronicles. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 71,690. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » History, Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » History
(5.00 from 1 review)
When the Air Force refused to build a spy plane to overfly the Soviet Union, the CIA's new Science and Technology Directorate did so, developing both the U-2 and A-12 spy planes at the Lockheed Skunks Works and flying them at a secret CIA station today known as Area 51. At this secret venue, the CIA developed a secret technology laboratory that became a company business that continues today.
The Archangels
Series: The CIA Area 51 Chronicles. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 109,970. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » History, Nonfiction » History » War
(5.00 from 1 review)
The combination of the shoot down of the U-2 over Russia in 1960, Russia’s moving into Cuba, and the war in Vietnam placed a heavy load on national security. Secretly flown out of Area 51, the CIA’s new Directorate of Science and Technology developed a stealthy spy plane that still today remains the fastest and highest flying manned plane ever.
The Angels
Series: The CIA Area 51 Chronicles. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 116,640. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » History, Nonfiction » History » Military
(5.00 from 1 review)
They all, President Truman, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Marine Corps feared the Central Intelligence Agency, yet the president tasked it with doing something that the Air Force would not do. That was to develop a manned overhead reconnaissance program to spy on RussiaDespite many technological and bureaucratic hurdles, the CIA develops both Area 51 and the revolutionary plane, the U-2.
Soaring With The Eagles
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 89,910. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » Aeronautics & Astronautics
(5.00 from 1 review)
For half a century, his family and friends never knew he worked on special projects at Area 51 for the CIA. Barnes, an Area 51 and Cold War veteran tells what brought him from a desolate childhood on a remote ranch in the West Texas Panhandle, and through an Army career to Area 51 to serve the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. Barnes shares the family sacrifices and achievements also.
EMP - Nuclear Summer
Series: EMP. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 87,840. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
Four years ago, 90% of the world's population perished during the nuclear winter following an EMP attack and global nuclear war. Two years ago, a group of survivors learn of a new enemy migrating from underdeveloped countries not targeted by a nuclear exchange. Held siege by two more years of nuclear winter, they emerge prepared to battle for their survival and suffer heavily from the unexpected.
EMP - Nuclear Spring
Series: EMP, Book 2. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 95,150. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 1 review)
After two years inside the mountain to escape the nuclear winter that followed in the aftermath of an EMP attack and the bombs of a global nuclear war, the survivors at Yucca Mountain emerge to find 90% of the world's population has perished. They face a new war, this one against those migrating from underdeveloped countries not targeted by the nuclear exchange. The battle to survive is brutal.
EmP - Nuclear Winter
Series: EMP, Book 1. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 99,770. Language: American English. Published: March 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(5.00 from 1 review)
TEOTWAWK. "The end of the world as we know it" occurs when a new US missile defense measure redirects a nuclear-tipped Chinese rocket test to target Beijing. In the heat of the moment, a Chinese missile officer releases an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) device in Earth orbit as part of the nation's deterrent to a pre-emptive attack. Few survive the ensuing global war and nuclear winter that follows.