Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pentagon finds nuclear strides by North Korea

From left, FBI Director Robert Mueller, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testify Thursday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

Associated Press

From left, FBI Director Robert Mueller, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testify Thursday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

WASHINGTON — A new assessment by the Pentagon's intelligence arm has concluded for the first time, with "moderate confidence," that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile.

The assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been distributed to senior administration officials and members of Congress, cautions that the weapon's "reliability will be low," apparently a reference to the North's difficulty in developing accurate missiles or, perhaps, to the huge technical challenges of designing a warhead that can survive the rigors of flight and detonate on a specific target.

The existence of the assessment was disclosed Thursday by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., three hours into a budget hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

Thursday evening, however, Pentagon press secretary George Little issued a statement that sought to qualify the conclusion of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has primary responsibility for monitoring the missile capabilities of adversary nations but which a decade ago was among those that argued most vociferously — and incorrectly — that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

"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," Little said. "The United States continues to closely monitor the North Korean nuclear program and calls upon North Korea to honor its international obligations."

Nonetheless, outside experts said the report's conclusions could help explain why Hagel has announced in recent weeks that the Pentagon was bolstering long-range antimissile defenses in Alaska and California and rushing another antimissile system to Guam.

The disclosure of the Defense Intelligence Agency's assessment came on the same day that the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, sought to tamp down fears that North Korean rhetoric could lead to an armed clash with the United States, South Korea and regional allies, and a high South Korean official called for dialogue with North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, was scheduled to arrive in Seoul today and then travel to China and Japan. His two principal goals are to encourage China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and to reassure South Korea and Japan that the United States remains committed to their defense.

Pentagon finds nuclear strides by North Korea 04/11/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 schedule: Stanley Cup champion Penguins, expansion Golden Knights among the coming attractions

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's season schedule was released Thursday afternoon, and there are plenty of must-see matchups coming to Amalie Arena. Here are the home games with the most intriguing storylines:

    The champs

    (Oct. 12, Oct. 21)

    The two-time defending champion Penguins make two early trips to Tampa. [AP photo]
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 schedule

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's Brayden Point celebrates a goal during a game against the Ottawa Senators in February in Tampa. [AP photo]
  3. Gay, black leaders speak about finding their place

    Relationships

    When Lillian Dunlap moved to Florida at age 52 in 1999 she could finally breathe. The journalism professor from the University of Missouri and the University of Indiana hadn't been able live openly as a gay woman until then. She had considered coming out before but never did.

    Terri Lipsey Scott (standing) welcomed panelists Bob Devin Jones, Desmond Clark, Lillian Dunlap, Trevor Pettiford and Sheree Greer. Moderator Nadine Smith not pictured.
  4. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  5. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  6. OCTOBER_cokwr_cpzh4_cre1l_chk2m