UPDATE, 11 P.M.: Pentagon spokesman George Little has called news of the DIA report "inaccurate," and that despite the technology North Korea may or may not posess, the reigme has not appropriately tested any native North Korean nuclear warhead delivery systems.
"It would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the [DIA] passage," Little told Reuters.
9:30 P.M.: Does North Korea have nuclear missiles? A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report believes with “moderate confidence” that Pyongyang may in fact have access to nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles capable of carrying them.
As North Korea continues to make threatening gestures toward the U.S., South Korea and Japan, most have concluded that the nation is merely making empty threats, according to the New York Times. However, as the Times revealed, a DIA intelligence report theorizes that the North may in fact have access to nuclear warheads and missile-delivery systems.
"DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles. However, the reliability will be low,” the DIA report says.
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The New York Times obtained the specific wording from a House Armed Services Committee meeting, where Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., read the selected portion of the DIA study. He acknowledged that the study had not been officially released, but said he was reading an unclassified section of it.
After reading portions of the DIA study out loud on the floor, Lamborn asked Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to confirm the study's findings.
"Well, I haven't seen it," Dempsey said, according to CNN. "And you said it's not publicly released, so I -- I choose not to comment on it."
The revelation that North Korea may have access to nuclear weapons comes amid increased threats toward its neighbor South Korea and ally the U.S.
CNN reports that on early Thursday morning, North Korean military officially placed at least one missile into an upright firing position, readying it for a possible launch. Reports were unsure whether the nation was preparing for a missile test or a military strike. However, reports later stated that Pyongyang had moved the missile back down from an upright strike position.
Even so, North Korea announced Thursday that it had "powerful striking means" to attack the West, according to the Associated Press.
At the same time, Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland stated that "striking means" have been "put on standby for a launch and the coordinates of targets put into the warheads,” suggesting more military action could be on the way.
As North Korea continues threaten the U.S. and South Korea, the Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama has publicly commented on the issue for the first time since the North began increasing its threats last month.
"Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean peninsula," Obama said at a meeting with South Korean United Nations Secretary General Ban Kai-moon. "But it's important for North Korea, like every other country in the world, to observe the basic rules and norms that are set forth, including a wide variety of U.N. resolutions."