The theft of ten suitcase nukes from the U.S. stockpile brings the President to believe that the culprits are foreign terrorists being aided by rogue government officials. This means that the people he can trust are greatly reduced so he turns to his own team led by J.T. Ryan to look into it. Before the team can make headway, one of the devices is set off in rural Pennsylvania. The EMP from that explosion affects hundreds of miles.