Pentagon: North Korea Likely Has Nuke Warheads

Congressman quotes report during hearing

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 4:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – A congressman quizzing the Joint Chiefs chairman dropped a disturbing little nugget during a hearing on Capitol Hill today: The Pentagon thinks North Korea probably already has nuclear weapons ready to go via ballistic missile. The revelation came from Colorado's Doug Lamborn, who read from an assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, reports CNN:

  • "Quoting from the unclassified portion, which I believe has not yet been made public, they say, quote, 'DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles, however, the reliability will be low.'"

Lamborn's whole point in reading it was to ask Gen. Martin Dempsey whether he agreed with that assessment, but Dempsey seemed "taken aback," reports Eli Lake of the Daily Beast. "Well, I haven't seen it," he eventually replied. "And you said it's not publicly released, so I choose not to comment on it." So is this bombshell news? “This is the clearest, most direct statement that North Korea has a miniaturized warhead,” a North Korea expert tells the Washington Post. But, he added, it's “consistent with a series of statements that have been made in the past” by US officials.

In this Dec. 12, 2012  file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.
In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.   (AP Photo/KCNA, File)
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