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

Posted May 14, 2017

Iran "continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats-including against US allies in the region", Coats testified.

The remarks from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats come as the Trump administration conducts a comprehensive review of its Iran policy.

The U.S. intelligence community is comprised of 17 federal agencies. Coats declined to provide such details in an open hearing.

Six top US intelligence officials told Congress on Thursday they agree with the conclusion that Russian Federation acted to influence last year's election, countering President Donald Trump's assertions that the hacking remains an open question.

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

Coats said the situation will deteriorate, and the Taliban will make gains, especially in rural areas.

For the Trump Administration, facing a question whether to increase the U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, this can't be good news.

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Coats described the growing threat of Iran's missile program in a written testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday.

The nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) posed a "potentially existential threat" to the United States, U.S. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said on Thursday. Stewart noted that North Korea has expressed the goal of creating an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tipped with a miniaturized nuclear weapon, and each test comes with progress towards that explicit goal.

Calling North Korea "an increasingly grave national security threat" to the US, Coats said Pyongyang had taken "initial steps" toward fielding a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, Xinhua news agency reported. The performance of Afghan national security forces will worsen because of weak military leadership, desertions and combat casualties, he predicted. But much of the attention turned to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, making his first public appearance in that role since President Donald Trump fired James Comey on May 9.

"Kabul's political dysfunction and ineffectiveness will nearly certainly be the greatest vulnerability to stability in 2017", he wrote.

Coats' statement also addressed concerns over China's continued construction on islands and other geographic features in the South China Sea, according to the statement, and will have its first long-range, sea-based nuclear capability when it finishes developing its JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Sunni extremists remain the primary terrorist threat to the USA, with home-grown actors posing the biggest concern.