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

  • #ThankYouObama: Tributes pour in for outgoing President Obama

    World News CTV News
    As the final hours of U.S. President Barack Obama’s tenure wind down and the world prepares for the swearing in of president-elect Donald Trump at his inauguration on Friday, touching tributes started to pour in online for the outgoing 44th president. Source
  • Donald Trump’s inauguration sparks Russian celebrations [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — Russian officials and lawmakers lauded Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, hoping it will herald a period of better ties with the United States, while revelers in Moscow and elsewhere gathered for celebrations as bar and club owners sought to cash in on public excitement. Source
  • Reminder: Donald Trump refused to rule out using nukes

    World News Toronto Sun
    Use nuclear weapons? "Maybe". Once baffled by the “nuclear triad,” Donald Trump – at some point Friday – will be in full control of the United States’ nuclear arsenal. Trump left viewers trembling before last year’s election when he refused to rule out using nukes against foreign enemies. Source
  • Tim Hortons, Burger King launching pay-in-advance app

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - The parent company of Tim Hortons and Burger King plans to launch an app Canada-wide this spring that would allow customers to order and pay in advance on their smartphone without lining up to pay a cashier. Source
  • Inflation heats up to 1.5% in December as higher gas prices offset cheaper food

    Canada News CBC News
    Gasoline prices increased in December on an annualized basis. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press) The cost of living in Canada increased by 1.5 per cent last month, as slightly more expensive gasoline prices helped offset slightly cheaper food prices. Source
  • Quebec woman accused of sexually assaulting minor jailed in Bahamas

    Canada News CTV News
    A Quebec woman has been sitting in a jail in the Bahamas since early January after being accused of having sex with a minor while on vacation. Karine Gagne, a 23-year-old mother of three from Sainte-Gertrude, located near Drummondville, began a cruise in the Bahamas on New Year’s Day with some co-workers. Source
  • Donald Trump protesters plan to disrupt his big day [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Donald Trump, and while the majority of those expected in Washington on Friday will be there to celebrate, some protesters say their plan is to do their best to disrupt the day. Source
  • Donald Trump to be sworn in as 45th U.S. president

    World News CBC News
    Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television star who upended American politics and energized voters angry with Washington, will be sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, putting Republicans in control of the White House for the first time in eight years. Source
  • 'They were flying like skittles'; 4 killed, 15 hurt after car plows through pedestrians in Melbourne

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — One person was killed and several others were seriously injured after a car plowed into pedestrians in Australia’s second-largest city on Friday, prompting a major police operation as officials told the public to stay away from the area. Source
  • 5 reported alive in rubble of Italian hotel hit by avalanche [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    FARINDOLA, Italy — Five people were found alive in the rubble of an Italian hotel Friday, two days after an avalanche tore through the mountain resort and trapped an estimated 30 people inside, rescue crews reported. “We found five people alive. Source