The CIA and other intelligence agencies agree with another U.S. agency’s assessment that North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, NBC News reported Thursday.
The Washington Post first reported earlier this week that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in late July assessed that North Korea had reached the key milestone in its quest for a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
It was unclear from the Post report on Tuesday whether any of the other 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed with the DIA’s assessment, though the DIA report excerpt quoted by the Post did refer to the intelligence community as a whole.
“The [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the DIA assessment said, according to the newspaper.
NBC’s report on Thursday says that other agencies, including the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, agree with the DIA's assessment.
According to NBC, it remains unknown what level of confidence the agencies are ascribing their assessment — low, medium or high.
Since the Post report, tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have skyrocketed, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump engaged in a war of words.
On Tuesday, Trump warned Kim of “fire and fury” awaiting North Korea if he continues to threaten the United States. Hours later, the North Korean state media carried a statement from the country’s army that threatened an attack on a U.S. military base in Guam.
Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to brag about the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and on Thursday morning, North Korea detailed a planned missile salvo toward Guam.
Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE also warned North Korea of the “end of its regime,” though he specified it would be actions, not words, that would lead to a U.S. response.
“The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in a statement Wednesday. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."