US intelligence report confirms N Korea is able to launch Nuke attack
Story Code : 253832
Despite the conclusion by the US Defense Intelligence Agency(DIA), revealed Thursday by an American lawmaker, experts in the field reportedly believe that North Korea still lacks the capability to strike the US mainland with its ballistic missiles but is likely able to hit the country’s Guam Island, major local media outlets reported on Thursday and Friday.
The assessment, which has reportedly been distributed to senior administration officials and lawmakers and disclosed on Thursday by Colorado Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, further states that the weapon’s “reliability will be low.”
The reported advancements in Pyongyang’s weapons technology, however, have prompted major concerns among US policymakers, pointing to possible motives behind recent American military measures, including an emphasis on the country’s ability to react to a potential attack with nuclear weapons.
According to Lamborn, the DIA study was just completed last month but its conclusion was not publicized.
While Chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey has refused to comment on the recent assessment “due to classification issues,” Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper declared in a statement late Thursday that the assessment did not reflect a consensus of the country’s entire intelligence community.
“North Korea,” he said, “has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile.”
Moreover, US Defense Department’s Press Secretary George Little sought to undermine the DIA conclusion in a Thursday statement, reflecting the Obama administration’s concerns over the disclosure of the assessment.
“It would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage,” said Little.
Meanwhile, US press reports also point to the fact that DIA, which has primary responsibility for monitoring the missile capabilities of hostile nations, was among the American spy agencies that vigorously, but incorrectly, insisted that Iraq had nuclear and other mass-destruction weapons.
The development comes as South Korea raised its military surveillance alert to ‘vital threat’ on Wednesday after one of its intelligence reports said that the North was prepared to launch at least one mid-range missile from its eastern coast.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se warned Pyongyang that it would face a fresh round of UN sanctions if it conducts a new missile test.
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of escalating military rhetoric following the participation of nuclear-capable US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers in recent joint military drills with South Korea.
On March 30, North Korea declared that it was in a “state of war” with South Korea. Pyongyang warned that if Washington and Seoul launched a preemptive attack, the conflict would “not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.”