DPRK poses "potentially existential threat": U.S. intelligence chief

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee

He detailed that support to lawmakers during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats. "This threat will persist with many attacks happening with little or no warning".

Coates said USA policymakers need to address the threat of continuing cyber attacks, "but at this particular point in time, frankly, given the proliferation of issues that we're trying to deal with, it's nearly overwhelming".

Yet the discussion before the Armed Services Committee focused nearly exclusively on threats in cyberspace and the inadequate US ability to deter, discourage and recover from some scary scenarios.

However, Coats refused to reveal the US intelligence community's estimation about when the DPRK would have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of taking a nuclear warhead. The Islamic State will retain the ability to sustain its insurgency and carry out terrorist attacks globally even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.

He said that al-Qaeda and its network continue to pose a "significant terrorist threat overseas, as they remain primarily focused on local and regional conflicts".

His comments came as Trump is set to receive Pentagon reccomendations this week on potential options in Afghanistan.

Asked if he promised to inform the Intelligence Committee of any efforts to interfere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe into the Russian meddling and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it, McCabe said simply, "I absolutely do". Among those options is one to reportedly send between 3,000 and 5,000 US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to the country to participate in the training of the Afghan security forces.

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.

"They are on that path, and they are committed to doing that", he said.

Dan Coats said the unprecedented nuclear and missile testing past year indicates that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is intent on proving North Korea's capability.

"It's officials consistently state that nuclear weapons are the basis for regime survival", said Coats of North Korea, "suggesting Kim does not intend, does not intend, to negotiate them away".

Dan Coats tells the Senate intelligence committee that the deal extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon.

Stewart later said that Iran sees itself as the "dominant regional power", a position that might later put it in conflict with Russian Federation if their interest diverge from supporting Assad.

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