DPRK poses "potentially existential threat": United States intelligence chief

Posted May 14, 2017

Coats's testimony paired with a Worldwide Threat Assessment report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Thursday.

However, Coats refused to reveal the USA intelligence community's estimation about when the DPRK would have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of taking a nuclear warhead.

"If the DPRK had not had access to the powerful nuclear force and had not gotten itself ready to counter the United States and its vassal forces' provocation with merciless military counteraction, the U.S. would have committed without hesitation the same aggression act in Korea as what it committed against other countries", the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying on May 1. President Donald Trump has promised to cut excess spending as he tries to clean up the budget and decrease the deficit.

"We have dedicated a very significant amount of our intelligence resources to the issue of North Korea".

Director of National Intelligence testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, May 11, 2017.

"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. He recommended that US 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.

Iran continues to boost the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and act as the leading state sponsor of terrorism even as the nuclear deal temporarily limits the country's ability to build a nuclear weapon, according to a top intelligence chief. "The Taliban are likely to continue to make gains, especially in rural areas", said the U.S. spy chief, adding that efforts to bolster local military have been less fruitful than hoped.

Calling the DPRK "an increasingly grave national security threat" to the United States, Coats said the DPRK had taken "initial steps" toward fielding a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.

"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. -Chinese agreement addressing cybertheft. But much of the attention turned to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, making his first public appearance in that role since Trump fired James Comey on Tuesday. While the administration has said it will talk with Kim's regime if it shows a willingness to abandon its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, the report signaled that any such move is unlikely.

Information for this article was contributed by Matthew Pennington and Deb Riechmann of The Associated Press; and by Nick Wadhams and Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News.