A confidential Central Intelligence Agency assessment of North Korea’s re-entry vehicles indicates the country has what it needs to carry out a nuclear strike on the continental U.S., sources knowledgable about the report told The Diplomat.
North Korea conducted its second test of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in late July, and while the CIA assesses that the re-entry vehicle did not survive the lofted test, it assumes that the re-entry vehicle would perform properly if the missile were fired along a normal trajectory, the sources with direct knowledge of the assessment told The Diplomat.
The CIA assesses that the lofted trajectory put additional stress on the re-entry vehicle, causing it to fail during testing, but believes that the technology would probably not encounter performance problems on a minimum energy trajectory.
The U.S. has sought comfort and a sense of security by denying that North Korea could produce an ICBM, by refusing to accept that North Korea could miniaturize a nuclear warhead, and by consistently highlighting North Korea’s inability to develop a functional re-entry vehicle. (Read more from “Report: US Intel Indicates North Korea Now Has Everything It Needs to Nuke the U.S.” HERE)