- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea, Iran and other countries are concealing
their ballistic missile programs from U.S. spy satellites by using enormous
underground laboratories and factories to build and test the weapons, the
Washington Post reported Wednesday. The newspaper, quoting members of a
bipartisan commission that has been determining the threat posed to the
United Sates by ballistic missiles, said the elaborate underground construction
was contributing to the ``erosion'' of U.S. intelligence agencies' ability
to monitor weapons proliferation.
The panel's report criticized U.S. ``intelligence gaps,'' concluding that
``the technical means of collection now employed will not meet emerging
requirements,'' the Post said. The panel's chairman, former U.S. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, recently told the House National Security Committee
that North Korea, Iran, Russia and China ``have made extensive use of the
underground construction, which enables them to do things such as development
and storage and, indeed, even launching from underground, hidden silo areas,''
according to the report.
The North Koreans, for example, have created an ''underground city'' to
hide the development of its No Dong missile, one panel member who listened
to extensive classified briefings told the Post. Another panel member told
a congressional hearing that the No Dong ``was operationally deployed long
before the U.S. government recognized that fact,'' the newspaper said.