N. Korean missile could reach U.S., intelligence warns
By Bill Gertz

Carried by Drudge Report 13 February 2003

The Western United States could be within range of North Korea's longest-range missile armed with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads by the year 2000, according to U.S. and foreign intelligence assessments. Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said new information indicates North Korea's Taepo Dong-2 missile, still under development, is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting U.S. cities and demonstrates the need for rapidly building a national missile defense. A South Korean intelligence official, quoting a Russian assessment, said the Taepo Dong-2 will be deployed by 2000 with a maximum range of 6,200 miles once warhead modifications and technical improvements are made, the newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported Sept. 11.

Mr. Kyl, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he investigated the report and found it "not inconsistent with some information that I have."

"The bottom line is that if the information is even close to the truth, it presents for the first time a very serious and relatively quick challenge to U.S. sovereignty," he said.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimates the Taepo Dong-2 will have a range of about 4,650 miles and confirmed that with a smaller warhead it could reach 6,200 miles, a Pentagon source said.

Information on the North Korean ICBM comes as a House and Senate conference committee is working on provisions of the fiscal 1996 defense authorization about whether the Pentagon should move ahead quickly with deployment of a national missile defense that could defend against such North Korean missiles.