US intelligence heads contradict Trump on various threats


Coats said intelligence information does not support the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will eliminate his nuclear weapons and the capacity for building more - a notion that is the basis of the US negotiating strategy.

President Donald Trump continued to downplay much of the criticism coming his way following an intelligence assessment that contradicted his administration's take on some of the global threats facing the US.

Coats did note that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed support for ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and over the past year has not test-fired a nuclear-capable missile or conducted a nuclear test.

On Wednesday, the President chastised the intelligence community as a whole for being soft on Iran and implied that he had a better sense of dangers posed by the Islamic Republic than those who had testified on the matter the day before.

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The U.S. -North Korean talks have moved slowly since the first Trump-Kim meeting last June in Singapore. "Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearisation". Yet again, Trump's rhetoric is disconnected from the facts presented by the professionals serving in his administration.

Mr Trump has repeatedly talked up the chance of a breakthrough - though at times has made clear he does not know when talks will end.

In September a year ago, an inter-Korean summit was held where North Korea's Kim expressed willingness to close Yongbyon if the United States took the corresponding action. He pointed to the North's halt in nuclear and missile tests, the return of some United States service members' remains and the release of detained Americans as signs of progress.

If diplomacy doesn't work, the USA has unspecified "contingencies", he added. "Progress being made-big difference!" he said. But his list of concrete achievements has not grown in the months since that meeting, and his own intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or the missiles capable of carrying them. "Dems put us in a bad place - but now good!" "If you're going to ignore that information, then you're going to make poor decisions", said Democratic California Representative Adam Schiff said in an interview with the Times.

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He defended his handling of foreign policy, pointing to "tremendous progress" with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. Trump said that since ending the "terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict".

The U.S. -DPRK relations improved past year.

Coats said "we do not believe Iran is now undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device", even though the regime has "publicly threatened to push the boundaries" of the nuclear agreement if they determine there's no benefits under it. What's more, the Iran deal had sunset clauses that would lift the limits on Iran's nuclear fuel production by 2021, while letting Iran modernize the equipment to make that fuel more efficiently.

Trump has given the Pentagon about four months to withdraw USA troops from Syria, backtracking from his abrupt December order for a pullout within 30 days.

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