First, it’s important to note that this DIA assessment does not necessarily reflect the thinking of the entire US intelligence apparatus. Plus, if read carefully, it holds only that North Korea may have rudimentary knowledge – not an arsenal of long-range missiles with nuclear weapons on their tips.
This can be seen in the fact that the Defense Department itself tried to roll back the DIA’s conclusion a bit after it was disclosed.
“In today’s House Armed Services Committee on the Department of Defense budget, a member of the committee read an unclassified passage in a classified report on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. While I cannot speak to all the details of a report that is classified in its entirety, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in this passage,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little in a statement issued Thursday night.