RealNews

Intelligence Puzzle: North Korean Bombs

New intelligence estimates that North Korea may have produced one or two nuclear weapons in recent months — or perhaps more — have immersed the administration in another internal debate about the quality of intelligence about illegal weapons. With President Bush just days from embarking on his longest foray in Asia, some of his advisers say it is possible that North Korea is telling the truth about having turned 8,000 nuclear fuel rods into enough weapons-grade plutonium for several warheads. Others, including more cautious intelligence analysts at the State Department, say there is still no proof, and plenty of incentive for the North Koreans to bluff. The International Atomic Energy Agency, in a series of confidential briefings, has taken a middle view: It has told Asian governments that North Korea has probably produced enough plutonium to make two new nuclear weapons, according to officials who took notes on the briefings. Full Story

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