WASHINGTON — The top U.S. intelligence official disclosed Thursday that a congressman inadvertently revealed classified information when he read aloud a passage from a Defense Intelligence Agency report that said North Korea had the knowhow to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the paragraph read out loud by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., at a House hearing last week was "miscategorized as unclassified."
"The section in question was clearly labeled as unclassified. Additionally, Armed Services Committee staff confirmed the classification level of the relevant section in writing with DIA before it was introduced in last week's hearing," said Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the Republican majority on the House Armed Services Committee.
DNI spokesman Shawn Turner said by email that the DIA mislabeled that section of the report.
Clapper repeated his contention in the hearing that North Korea has made progress on its ballistic missile and nuclear program, but "has not, however, fully developed, tested or demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear-armed missile."
He said that the "DIA has a higher confidence level than the rest of the community on that capability," part of what he called the "healthy debate and disagreement," over the issue.
"For those looking to find infighting within the IC (intelligence community) on North Korea, I'm sorry to disappoint," Clapper said. "We lack uniform agreement on assessing many things in North Korea; its actual nuclear capabilities are no exception," which he said is part of "integrated, collaborative and competitive analysis process that's open to all views."
DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also testified, said the seven-page classified document was produced in March and that the "differences in levels of assessment" on North Korea's capability stemmed from "a difference in how we judge assumptions in this case." He refused to provide further detail in an open hearing.
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