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CIA Director Believes DPRK Could Threaten US Cities in a Few Months

Sputnik News

21:42 07.01.2018(updated 23:16 07.01.2018)

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo speaking at the Face the Nation show on the CBS television network on Sunday expressed his views on perils originating from Pyongyang, Russia's alleged attempts to meddle in 2018 US elections and protests in Iran.

On North Korea

Pompeo confirmed he still believed that Pyongyang was just a few months away from crossing the threshold to putting a US city at risk of nuclear attack.

When asked, was that a three- or four-month period, Pompeo said he was unable to give "that kind of certainty."

However, he refuted the allegations that underestimation of Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities was a failure of US intelligence.

"Look, I've been one who's been candid where the intelligence community has made mistakes, where we have missed things. This is not that," Pompeo stressed.

On the contrary, he added, in recent months, US intelligence has managed to better understand what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his inner circle were doing.

"We have what we think is a very good assessment of their military capability. That is, how ready those enormous forces are," Pompeo said, recalling that in addition to nuclear weapons, North Korea has enormous conventional capacity.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have escalated in the wake of repeated ballistic missile launches and a nuclear test by Pyongyang followed by the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on North Korea. Most notably, in August, North Korea said it was considering a strategy to strike the US pacific territory of Guam. US President Donald Trump said, in turn, that the United States would respond to North Korea's threats with "fire and fury."

On Russian Meddling

Pompeo responded affirmatively when asked whether Moscow was trying to undermine the 2018 elections.

"Yes, sir. Have been for decades. So, yes, I – I continue- continue to be concerned not only about the Russians but about others' efforts as well. We have many foes who want to undermine Western democracy. So there's this – this Washington-based focus on Russian interference. I want to make sure we broaden the conversation," Pompeo told the broadcaster.

In November 2018, the United States will hold midterm elections with voters choosing one third of the US Senate, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and governors of 36 states and three territories.

The US Congress is currently investigating Russia's alleged meddling in 2016 US presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been carrying out a similar investigation. A number of hearings regarding the issue have been held in the Congress, but intelligence service officials have yet to provide any evidence, as they claim the information is confidential.

Russia has repeatedly refuted allegations that it meddled in the US election, calling the accusations "absolutely groundless" and noting that Moscow never had contacts with the campaign team of now US President Donald Trump.

On Iran

Mike Pompeo said that the recent wave of protests in Iran was determined by the government's failure to fulfill its promises regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and internal economic and social issues.

"They're [Iranians] protesting because they've seen the failed promises of President [Hassan] Rouhani and [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif, that they haven't been able to deliver the economic outcomes that they said. They said they'd get the JCPOA and food would be plentiful, that commerce would reign, and that jobs would arise. And that simply hasn't happened," Pompeo told the CBS broadcaster.

Several major cities in Iran, including Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Rasht, have been engulfed in anti-government protests since December 28, 2017. The people have taken to the streets to protest against unemployment, poverty, and the rising cost of living, as well as policies of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. At least 20 people have reportedly been killed in the unrest.

In July 2015, the European Union, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations comprising the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany signed the nuclear deal that stipulated a gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on Tehran in exchange for guarantees of peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to halt the Iran nuclear deal, while the US lawmakers were working on amendments to the accord.


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