N. Korea expands uranium facility, restarts plutonium reactor: U.S. intelligence chief

WASHINGTON -- North Korea has expanded a uranium enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor that could start recovering spent fuel in weeks or months, the U.S.

See Full Article

intelligence chief said Tuesday in delivering the annual assessment by intelligence agencies of the top dangers facing the country.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Pyongyang announced in 2013 its intention to refurbish and restart nuclear facilities, to include the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon and its graphite-moderated plutonium production reactor, which was shut down in 2007.

"We assess that North Korea has followed through on its announcement by expanding its Yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the plutonium production reactor," Clapper said in an opening statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We further assess that North Korea has been operating the reactor long enough so that it could begin to recover plutonium from the reactor's spent fuel within a matter of weeks to months."

Clapper also said that Islamic militants will continue plotting against U.S. interests overseas and homegrown attacks will pose the most significant threat from violent extremists to Americans at home.

"The perceived success of attacks by homegrown violent extremists in Europe and North America, such as those in Chattanooga and San Bernardino, might motivate others to replicate opportunistic attacks with little or no warning, diminishing our ability to detect terrorist operational planning and readiness," he said.

"ISIL involvement in homeland attack activity will probably continue to involve those who draw inspiration from the group's highly sophisticated media without direct guidance from ISIL leadership," he said using an acronym for the militant group.

Clapper also said Iran remains the top state sponsor of terrorism, al-Qaida-linked groups remain resilient and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea.

Clapper said U.S. information systems, controlled by the U.S. government and American industry, are vulnerable to cyberattacks from Russia and China. North Korea "probably remains capable and willing to launch disruptive or destructive cyberattacks to support its political objectives," he said.

Moscow "is assuming a more assertive cyber posture" that is based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure and carry out espionage operations even when those operations have been detected and under increased public scrutiny, Clapper said. Russia's cyber operations are likely to target U.S. interests in part to underpin its intelligence gathering to support Russia's moves in the Ukraine and Syrian crises, he said.

Clapper said China selectively uses cyberattacks against targets Beijing believes threaten Chinese domestic stability or regime legitimacy.

"We will monitor compliance with China's September 2015 commitment to refrain from conducting or knowingly supporting cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property with the intent of providing competitive advantage to companies or commercial sectors," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Judge temporarily halts deportation of reunified families

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- A federal judge on Monday ordered a temporary halt to any deportations of reunited families who were separated by the Trump administration after crossing the southwest border. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked Judge Dana Sabraw to delay deportations a week after reunification. Source
  • Workers at Goderich salt mine accept deal to end 12-week strike

    Canada News CBC News
    The 12-week strike at the salt mine in Goderich, Ontario is over. Workers voted Monday to accept a three-year deal reached between Unifor Local 16-0 and the mine owner, Compass Minerals. The salt mine, the world's largest, employs more than 350 unionized workers. Source
  • Iran arrests 46 in fresh crackdowns on Instagram models

    World News CTV News
    TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of people in fresh crackdowns on models and associated colleagues posting "immoral images" online. The official IRNA news agency reported Monday that officials in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, some 1250 kilometres, or 630 miles, south of the capital Tehran, arrested eight women and 36 other people in the photography, beauty salons and wedding businesses who used Instagram to share what they considered indecent images and…
  • 'Kloe inside washer': Mom's post about girl trapped in front-loading machine goes viral

    World News CTV News
    A mother is warning other parents about the dangers of front-loaded laundry equipment after her three-year-old daughter became trapped in a new washing machine. Lindsey McIver’s story has garnered more than 250,000 shares on Facebook since July 11. Source
  • Cold case arrest: Police say they've arrested killer who left horrifying trail of taunts

    World News CTV News
    New DNA technology has led to an arrest in a cold case involving an eight-year-old girl who was allegedly raped, killed and left in an Indiana ditch 30 years ago. John D. Miller, 59, has been charged with murder, child molestation and criminal confinement in the death of April Tinsley after a genetics company was able to link Miller to the DNA found on the scene. Source
  • Abdoul Abdi no longer facing deportation hearing, for now

    Canada News CBC News
    Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi is no longer facing deportation to Somalia, but the threat of deportation in the future remains a possibility. Abdi, 25, lives and works in Toronto, but came to Nova Scotia in 2000 with his aunts and sister after his mother died in a refugee camp in Djibouti. Source
  • Apparent protester removed ahead of Trump-Putin conference

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI -- An apparent protester has been escorted out of a joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The individual, seated with the American press corps in Helsinki, was holding a sign about nuclear weapons. Source
  • U.S. willing to be part of Afghanistan talks with Taliban, NATO commander says

    World News CBC News
    The United States is ready to join direct negotiations with the Taliban in an effort to end the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander, said on Monday, amid growing speculation about possible peace talks. Source
  • Prime Minister's Youth Council calls on Trudeau to halt Kinder Morgan buyout

    Canada News CTV News
    More than a dozen current and former members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council are calling on Justin Trudeau to halt the federal government’s announced $4.5-billion buyout of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan. Source
  • Members of Prime Minister's Youth Council call on Trudeau to halt Kinder Morgan buyout

    Canada News CTV News
    More than a dozen current and former members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council are calling on Justin Trudeau to halt the federal government’s announced $4.5-billion buyout of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan. Source