US Defense Intelligence Agency: N. Korea can mount nuclear weapon on ballistic missilemounting a nuclear weapon aboard a ballistic missile.
The evaluation, dated last month, was made public by Republican Representative Doug Lamborn as he questioned senior Pentagon officials about North Korea's nuclear weapons program during a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
"DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low," said Lamborn. He was quoting from a DIA report entitled "Dynamic Threat Assessment 8099: North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program (March 2013)."
US officials and South Korea sought to play down the DIA evaluation.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said, "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."
James Clapper, the country's senior intelligence official, warned that the assessment was not necessarily shared by the wider US intelligence community.
"I would add that the statement read by the Member is not an Intelligence Community assessment. Moreover, North Korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile," Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said in a statement.I'd have a lot more confidence in the Defense Intelligence Agency than I would in Clapper. Clapper is the moron who told a Congressional committee two years ago that the biggest threats the United States faces are Russian and China, and not Iran, North Korea and Islamic terrorists.
And wouldn't it be just like the Obama administration to go too far in downplaying a threat?
Lamborn did not say what range any nuclear-capable North Korean missiles might have. Kristensen said one analyst recently claimed nuclear warhead capability for North Korea's Nodong short- to medium-range missile. It would be able to hit US-based facilities in the region, including South Korea and probably Japan.
The United States and South Korea have plans to respond proportionately to North Korean provocations like the shelling of an island or attacking a ship.
But not wanting to increase the tension in Korea, Washington has not been explicit about how it would respond to an incident involving nuclear arms, beyond saying it was capable of defending itself and its partners.
US President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States would work diplomatically to reduce tensions with North Korea, but warned that Washington would take "all necessary steps" to protect America and its allies.Read the whole thing.
And what's unsaid here.... If North Korea has technology to deliver a nuclear weapon using a ballistic missile, have they shared it with Iran?