Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Rumors Of War: CIA Director Says N Korea's Missile Program More Advanced Than Thought, CIA Director Discusses Preemptive Strike On N Korea, Russian Military Deploys Latest Batch Of S-400 To Syria

CIA Director Says North Korea's Missile Program Is More Advanced Than We Thought

The worst-case scenario for North Korea’s missile program is about to become a reality.
During an interview with CBS This Morning on Monday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo repeated his claim that a nuclear North Korea is only a “handful of months” away from being able to strike the US, according to a new report. Previously, the public estimates from the intelligence community were that North Korea still has at least a year to go before it would acquire the capacity to launch a nuclear strike on the Continental US with a high degree of accuracy.

Pompeo added that the US government is working diligently to extend the timeline, while his interviewer, CBS’s Norah O’Donnell pointed out that he said the same thing a few months prior. Pompeo acknowledged this: “It’s true,” he said.
“I hope to be able to say that a year from now as well,” Pompeo said.

O'DONNELL: This September Kim Jong Un detonated a sixth nuclear bomb. … Did we know that was coming?
POMPEO: Yes. Here's what we can say. We can always identify that the program is continuing. … We'll never know the exact nature of what's taking place. We'll never know the exact moment that they're going to continue. But the core risk that the policymakers needed to know was that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is continuing to expand, advance, become more powerful, more capable, more reliable. Each of those things had been shared with policymakers.
O'DONNELL: So to be clear, how close is Kim Jong Un to being able to deliver a nuclear attack to the territorial United States?
POMPEO: A handful of months.

The Central Intelligence Agency is briefing President Donald Trump on the risks and opportunities of a limited attack on North Korea, its director suggested on Tuesday. 
CIA Director Mike Pompeo would not discuss the “wisdom of a preemptive strike” on Pyongyang or its nuclear weapons program, he told an audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. But in rare public remarks, Pompeo portrayed North Korea as an urgent priority for the agency, and disclosed aspects of its role in setting back Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program during his first year at Langley. 
Kim is a rational man, Pompeo said the CIA had assessed. But it’s less clear that Kim takes seriously the prospect of a U.S. attack, something that could blunder the world into a devastating nuclear conflict.

Pompeo would not answer if options exist for Trump to attack North Korea short of a nuclear war. Analysts warn a limited strike would lead to such a war should North Korea retaliate and prompt escalation. He indicated instead the administration was developing a range of options spanning from diplomacy to war, so Trump will not face a binary choice between inaction and potential nuclear devastation. 

“We’re working to prepare a series of options to make sure that we can deliver a range of things so the president will have the full suite of possibilities. The president is intent on delivering this solution through diplomatic means,” Pompeo told AEI’s Marc Thiessen. 
“We are equally at the same time ensuring that if we conclude that is not possible, that we present the president a range of options to achieve what is his stated intention,” Pompeo continued, which he later described as to “denuclearize permanently” North Korea, “that we’re gonna foreclose this risk.”
A former North Korean spy, Kim Hyon-hui, indicated to NBC News that Trump’s goal of denuclearizing a country that has been a nuclear state for over a decade is not achievable diplomatically: “North Korea won’t give up its nuclear weapons. They’re its lifeline.”

The Russian military has delivered new units of its state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Syria. The weapons have assumed combat duty in Russian army compounds in the country.
Videos provided by the country's Defense Ministry show the arrival of four of the systems. Two were delivered by air to the Khmeimim Airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia, and two more were shipped to a Russian maritime facility located in Tartus.
An S-400 unit can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously, according to its manufacturers, Almaz Antey. 
In 2015, Russia deployed the system to Khmeimim to ensure the safety of its aircraft during their operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria. The deployment came after the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey. 

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