DENVER (CBS4) – There is still some mystery over North Korea’s capabilities in missile and nuclear technology. Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn alarmed some people Thursday when he said at a hearing the north may be able to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd talked with Lamborn on Friday. His comments certainly added to the international tension over the issue.
The Pentagon and Obama administration insist Lamborn is wrong — that North Korea cannot deploy a nuclear armed missile yet. But Lamborn says it came straight from an intelligence report and was the one passage that was “unclassified.”
“The Defense Intelligence Agency is highly respected and they need to be taken seriously,” Lamborn told Boyd.
Lamborn said it’s information the public needs to know.
“It’s important to bring this out because right now we’re dealing with the North Korean threat as we speak,” he said. “They’re working on standing up missiles literally at this moment.”
Lamborn’s disclosure came during a hearing as he read from a report by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
“DIA assesses with moderate confidence the north currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low,” Lamborn said at the hearing.
The White House downplayed the report.
“I want to be clear that North Korea has not demonstrated the capability to deploy a nuclear armed missile,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
But the administration admits its worried. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in South Korea Friday with a warning.
“North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” Kerry said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has ships positioned in the Pacific. Lamborn says now is not the time to cut the missile defense budget.
“I’m concerned that President Obama is proposing a budget he just sent to Congress a couple days ago saying that he wants to cut half a billion dollars out of missile defense,” he said.
Lamborn admits his opposition to defense cuts. Being from Colorado Springs is one reason he divulged the information.
On Saturday Kerry will head to China and ask officials there to cut off financial support to North Korea. The U.S. and its allies already have economic sanctions in place.