A former CIA director on Friday said that Iran is just “a few months” away from having a nuclear bomb and he warned that Tehran’s best scenario of use would be a blast in the atmosphere that would destroy everything below it.

R. James Woolsey, CIA director for two years under former President Bill Clinton, said the resulting electromagnetic pulse that would rock targets like the East Coast or Israel would wipe out unprotected power grids and even car electronics.

“The most dangerous thing the Iranians could do with a nuke once they get one, whether it’s in a month or two, or 10 or 12 — the president says a year, the Israelis say a few months — the most dangerous thing they could do with it is use it in EMP mode,” he told Secrets.

“A single nuclear weapon — of course it would be terrible if it was detonated in downtown Manhattan or Tel Aviv — but an EMP detonation, say up to a couple hundred miles, would destroy a whole society,” said Woolsey. He said that Iran could use a simple weather balloon to launch an attack.

Woolsey, a speaker at a Washington conference to discuss spending $2 billion to protect the U.S. electric grid from an EMP attack either from a nuclear weapon or solar eruption, also dismissed the administration's negotiations to lift trade sanctions in return for Iran giving up its nuclear goals.

“I don't think this current proposal we’ve made is going to stop them,” he said in a brief interview.

At the conference Woolsey dismissed political leaders who don’t believe that U.S. enemies like Iran and North Korea would launch a nuclear EMP attack. Iran, said the nation’s former top intelligence official, wants “worldwide chaos.”

At the conference, several speakers urged Washington to follow the state of Maine, which is beginning to “harden” its electric grid from an EMP blast. North Carolina is expected to follow soon.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.