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South Korean officials, according to news reports, have said North Korea probably will conduct a third nuclear test after the missile test flight.

Missile defense coming East

A provision of the defense authorization bill requiring deployment of a third long-range anti-missile interceptor base on the East Coast survived the House-Senate conference this week.

If the bill becomes law, the Obama administration will be required to build the new site at one of three locations in the eastern United States by the end of 2015.

The third Ground Based Interceptor site is opposed by the Pentagon because it is thought to upset plans for the less-capable Europe-based missile defense plan that the administration has hoped — so far unsuccessfully — would mollify Russian opposition to U.S. and allied missile defenses.

Missile defense specialists, however, say the administration’s European defense plans will not be effective in countering growing missile threats.

Now it appears Congress agrees. A House Armed Services Committee statement said the third base is needed “to respond to rising ballistic missile threats from states like Iran.”

The third interceptor base is in addition to bases at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Rep. Michael R. Turner, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic services, said passage of the missile defense provision highlights congressional opposition to administration cuts for missile defenses.

“The planning and study for an additional U.S. missile defense site is welcome news because it signals agreement that it is time to put the missile defense of the homeland as our top priority,” Mr. Turner said, adding that North Korea’s recent missile test was a warning that “we can no longer afford the administration’s disregard of homeland missile defense.”

Earlier this year, U.S. officials familiar with missile defense plans said two possible locations for the third site are Loring Air Force Base, Maine, a strategic base that was closed in 1994, and Fort Drum in upstate New York.

Kerry and intelligence

Some intelligence and security officials privately are expressing concerns over reports that Sen. John F. Kerry is first in line to be the next secretary of state after Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down.

The reason: Officials oppose the Massachusetts Democrat for hiring John Kiriakou to serve on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Mr. Kerry is chairman.

Most reports about Kiriakou’s recent conviction for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act note that he worked for Mr. Kerry as a senior committee staff member dealing with counterterrorism and detainee issues.

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