Pyongyang poses potentially existential threat: USA intel chief

Pyongyang poses potentially existential threat: USA intel chief

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Iran continues to make critical technological strides in its efforts to flawless an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons over great distances, efforts that violate worldwide prohibitions, according to the director of national intelligence, who informed Congress this week that the Islamic Republic "would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons".

The U.S. intelligence community is comprised of 17 federal agencies. Coats declined to provide such details in an open hearing. Sen.

But, Coats said also that there is a possibility that chemical weapons could be used again on the Syrian people by the Syrian government and on other countries, too.

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The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, warned that North Korean risks still remain and the threat is very real.

"In 2017, Russian Federation is likely to be more assertive in global affairs, more unpredictable in its approach to the United States, and more authoritarian in its approach to domestic politics", Coats said in the statement. Stewart noted that North Korea has expressed the goal of creating an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tipped with a miniaturized nuclear weapon, and each test comes with progress towards that explicit goal.

However, a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Coats said last month that U.S. President Donald Trump aims to use economic sanctions and diplomatic measures to pressure the DPRK to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.

Coats described the growing threat of Iran's missile program in a written testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday.

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The amount of time it would take for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is estimated to be from a few months to a year. Coats said Afghan troops suffer from "combat casualties, desertions, poor logistical support and weak leadership". He recommended that USA forces train with Afghan forces down the chain of command to the corps level, and that the Afghan security forces learn to make better use of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) and air support.

"Kabul's political dysfunction and ineffectiveness will nearly certainly be the greatest vulnerability to stability in 2017", he wrote in a 26-page statement summarizing the yearly joint report to Congress by the nation's intelligence agencies delivered ahead of his committee appearance.

But he said the US doesn't know if Iran will eventually decide to try to build nuclear weapons.

The post North Korea poses "existential" threat, US intel chief warns appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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