Confused? Well read on.
As far as I know such things have been rare in the modern age...a scientist/sci fi author writing a sci fi novel for funding! HG Wells used to write about philosophy and idealogy in the real world by writing his SF. He hoped to convince people of his beliefs. John W. Campbell tried to tie modern technology directly into the stories of scifi, making it more believable, editing work that sometimes was a little too close to reality for comfort..as with the a-bomb.
Lasers are pretty common to most a advanced country's R&D these days, the US and Germans have 50 and 100mw lasers. The new 6th generation fighter and also plans for next generation tanks all mention upgrade capabilities to laser based (ie: non projectile) weapons. Ship borne lasers have been around since the 80s and today they are mounted on large aircraft. So such stories really are not unbelievable, but its pretty safe to say that most countries also have way of hardening sensitive electronics in missles and such to EMP, so at best this laser produced EMP wouldn't work much of the time.