WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is denying that North Korea has developed miniaturized nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them, even though the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency have assessed that they exist, charges an adviser to Congress on national security.
“President Obama himself began this big lie amidst the 2013 nuclear crisis when North Korea was threatening to make nuclear missile strikes against the U.S. and its allies,” said Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the privately funded Task Force on National and Homeland Security for the Congressional Caucus on EMP.
Pry, who also directs the United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, an advisory body to Congress on policies to counter weapons of mass destruction, called for urgent hearings by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
He believes the White House position on the communist regime’s nuclear capabilities is related to the administration’s aim to radically reduce the U.S. military’s nuclear and conventional forces.
Pry told WND the DIA and CIA have both assessed that North Korea does have nuclear missiles, but Obama officials such as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “have suppressed this intelligence.”
“Now, Obama’s DOD is trying to silence South Korea’s warning that the North has nuclear missiles,” he said.
“This is one of the most egregious and dangerous examples of politicization of intelligence that I have ever seen.”
Pry said, like President Bill Clinton before him, Obama is “trying to escape responsibility for the fact that the North Korean nuclear threat has gotten much worse on his watch and wants to continue unilateral U.S. nuclear disarmament toward ‘Global Zero’ at a time when the U.S. nuclear deterrent matters more than ever.”
Pry has served on the staffs of the CIA, the House Armed Services Committee, the EMP Commission, the Strategic Posture Commission and the Commission on the New Strategic Posture of the U.S.
Obama’s denial won’t change the facts: America’s electrical grid is vulnerable to an EMP attack, and North Korea is taking the steps necessary to make that attack a reality. Read “A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe” (Autographed)
At odds with South Korean assessment
He cites recent reports from the South Korean government that the U.S. Defense Department had stated it did not have specific evidence to prove North Korea had attained the technology needed to miniaturize a nuclear warhead.
Experts assessed after North Korea’s third nuclear test in February 2013 that it had tested a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.
Following the test, North Korea threatened a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Washington and issued videos showing a simulation of such an attack.
Pry said the test was a low-kiloton yield designed not only for miniaturization but to produce less physical destruction. Its primary impact, if exploded at high altitude, is to emit gamma rays to damage unprotected electronics, including the U.S. national grid.
Pry said North Korea “for years” has had missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
“And we know it,” he said.
Aim to downgrade nuclear threat
Pry’s warning is reinforced by Mark B. Schneider, a former senior official in the Department of Defense and a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy.
Both Pry and Schneider say the Obama administration’s position on the state of North Korea’s nuclear and missile delivery capabilities is tied with its plans to “radically reduce U.S. military capabilities in both the nuclear and conventional arenas in the near future, starting with sequestration.”
“From its first days in office,” Schneider said, “the administration downgraded the importance of nuclear deterrence and cut missile defense. It is now standing back and allowing a large and rapid reduction in U.S. combat readiness due to sequestration, which is hardly the first and unlikely to be the last Obama administration cut to defense spending.”
Pry and Schneider pointed out that Russian scientists are helping North Korea develop an enhanced EMP weapon.
Reaching the U.S.
North Korea last year conducted a missile test that U.S. intelligence assessed was capable of reaching the continental United States.
Pyongyang also used the test as a platform to launch a satellite into orbit.
National security experts said that such a satellite could be a nuclear weapon that, when exploded at high altitude over the United States, could knock out the vulnerable U.S. electrical grid system. It also could destroy unprotected electronic components and automated control systems that operate such vital critical infrastructures as telecommunications, transportation, financial systems, food and water, and control of almost a million miles of oil and gas pipelines.
North Korea has tested missiles aimed at the South Pole that would make the unprotected southern U.S. vulnerable.
Ambassador Henry Cooper, the first director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under former President George H. W. Bush, has been warning that all U.S. missile defenses are geared toward attacks from over the North Pole.
He said that as an interim measure, the U.S. could move Aegis missile defense systems that can intercept such satellite systems up to 150 miles.
Walking back assessment
Pry said the revelation of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities came in a statement by Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of Defense Intelligence Agency, in its “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 14, 2011.
At the time, there also were other published reports, including an interview with former CIA East Asia Division Chief Arthur Brown in which he said North Korea had produced small nuclear warheads.
“Building a nuclear weapon and an operational multi-stage ballistic missile that can orbit a satellite in the first place, as North Korea has already done, is a lot bigger technological hurdle than miniaturizing a warhead, especially for an EMP attack,” Pry said.
In January 1991 testimony, former Director for Central Intelligence James Woolsey said North Korea was assessed to have a nuclear bomb.
Woolsey today is co-chairman of the EMP Coalition urging the passage of congressional legislation to protect the U.S. electrical grid system and vulnerable electronics.
The day DIA came out with its assessment that it had “moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles,” Schneider noted that then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said neither Iran nor North Korea was capable of attacking the U.S. with nuclear weapons.
The former DOD analyst Schneider said Hagel’s denial was at variance with a statement the defense secretary had made in April 2013 that the North Koreans “have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now.”
Schneider said that since 2013, North Korea has increased its threats of a nuclear attack.
“These have included threats of thermonuclear attack on the U.S. and our allies, a verbal declaration of war and a statement that the 1953 armistice has been terminated and that launch authority has been given to the military,” Schneider said.
Despite the threat from North Korea, Schneider said the Obama administration then tried to walk back the DIA assessment.
At the time, the Pentagon spokesman, George Little, had said that “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 DIA report.
He said Clapper also had endorsed the statement.
Schneider added that a senior House Armed Services Committee staffer had stated that while the finding was unclassified, “the Obama administration wanted to keep it under wraps.”