Washington Free Beacon
North Korea is close to deploying a new road-mobile intercontinental missile that can threaten the United States, the director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday.
DNI James Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the new weapon was rolled out during a military parade in Pyongyang last April.
"We believe North Korea has already taken initial steps towards fielding this system, although it remains untested," Clapper said.
The new missile comes amid recent threats by North Korea to launch nuclear missile strikes against the United States.
The comments by Clapper were the first public statement by a senior Obama administration official about a new and threatening road-mobile ICBM that analysts say represents a quantum leap in the North Korean missile threat.
Clapper, in an annual threat assessment briefing, also said North Korea's long-range Taepodong-2 rocket launched a satellite into orbit in December "thus demonstrating its long-range missile technology."
"These developments have been accompanied with extremely aggressive public rhetoric toward the United States and the Republic of Korea," Clapper said.
The disclosure that the Korean missile, dubbed the KN-08 ICBM, is close to deployment follows the Feb. 12 report by the Free Beacon that the Pentagon's Joint Staff was engaged in an urgent assessment of the new KN-08.
The classified assessment of the threat posed to the United States by the KN-08 was ordered by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, following recent intelligence indicating the North Koreans were moving ahead with the missile.
The expedited assessment is an indication of the level of concern felt within the US intelligence and military communities about the new weapon.
According to defense officials, several KN-08s were observed by intelligence sensors moving around the country in January.
There are concerns that North Korea will sell or share the technology for the mobile missile with other states, such as Iran.
Iran's Shahab-3 medium-range missile was based on North Korea's Nodong.
A test of the KN-08 was expected after North Korea's recent nuclear test but so far has not been carried out. There are also intelligence indicators showing North Korea may be preparing for a test of a new medium-range missile called the Musudan.
A US official said North Korean missile sites are being closely monitored.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 03/14/2013
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