The Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Twins

“The Northeast Intelligence Network… ahead of the rest.”

13 November 2006: The Northeast Intelligence Network published the following intelligence assessment regarding North Korean and Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile technological developments and testing a little over one month ago.  To be clear: any North Korean nuclear test is a defacto Iranian nuclear test, just as the North Korean multiple ballistic missile tests of July 4/5 2006 were de facto Iranian tests. Our assessment has always been that Iran is a prime funder and sponsor of the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile weapons program.

In the following section you will see timely corroboration from which is reporting today that this data is being briefed in President Bush’s meetings with both the ISG and Israeli PM Olmert this afternoon.

An excerpt from our previous (October) report:

“Accordingly, this is the current assessment I have arrived at based upon all-source analysis:

The North Korean nuclear test was a tactical 5kt missile deliverable warhead.

This assessment agrees with some intelligence data in todays report by Bill Gertz in the Washington Times: “Chinese-language documents on how to build a nuclear warhead for missiles were found in Libya and were supplied by Khan network associates. U.S. intelligence officials think Iran and North Korea received similar warhead design documents.” The report also states, “U.S. intelligence agencies estimate that North Korea has some 88 pounds of plutonium and that about 13 pounds were used in the recent test.”

The tested device as an Iranian warhead or North Korean warhead does not much matter. The tested device was intended to perform a specific mission, and I assess it worked as designed with the consideration that a 5kt warhead works well as a warhead destined for Tel Aviv as it does for Seoul or any major American military base within range of either nations ballistic missile arsenal - be they Shahab’s or No Dong’s.

Additionally, and by logical extension, I wish to add the following which was mentioned as a real world possibility by SECDEF Rumsfeld about two years ago.

Iran and North Korea have both tested the firing of a medium range ballistic missile [ostensibly armed with a small nuclear warhead ] from a non-descript ocean freighter. Such an attack apparently is within their planning for a preemptive or “decapitation” strike against the US. Such a missile (or missiles) fired from a couple hundred miles off the US east coast would impact target (say NYC or DC or both) within 4 to 6 minutes from launch. There is no defense against such an attack currently in existence as the developing US current ballistic missile defense (BMD) is based in Alaska and is specifically geared towards intercepting a long range ICBM where typical alert to a laun ch and the estimated time to impact is approximately 30 minutes. The US Navy Aegis-class cruiser BMD is currently under development.”(See  Iranian-North Korean Nuclear Collusion Revealed)

DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Very recent Iranian-North Korean nuclear collusion revealed

November 13, 2006, 12:24 PM (GMT+02:00)

A disturbing piece of US intelligence was due to be laid before the US president George W. Bush’s strategy review conference with the Iraq Study Group and talks with the visiting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in Washington. It is bound to color the two events which both take place Monday, Nov. 13. [b]Twelve days before North Korea’s first nuclear test on Oct.10, a secret Iranian military delegation of nuclear and missile experts was present in Pyongyang. The visitors were taken round North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor and the Punggye-ri testing site in the far north amid the preparations for the coming North Korean test.[/b]

This visit was first disclosed on Nov.10 by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 277.

Some US officials received the impression that the Iranians were briefed on some of North Korea’s secret preparations for the test. If true, this would point to three developments in North Korean-Iranian relations:

First, China was in on the Iranian visit, but ignored it, preferring Pyongyang to carry the can as Iran’s nuclear partner rather than Beijing.

Second, China must also have known about the coming North Korean nuclear weapons test and only pretended to have been taken unawares by Pyongyang’s ten-minute advance notice.

Third, North Korea not only agreed to open its most secret nuclear installations to Iranian scrutiny, but is also willing to instruct Iranian scientists and technicians in Pyongyang or on their home ground on how to set up and execute a nuclear weapons test.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Tehran sources add: Iran’s overweening self-confidence in its ability to carry through its nuclear aspirations in the teeth of international rancor hinges heavily on its certainty of Sino-North Korean assistance.