- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Inside the Ring: All eyes on Moscow’s military moves in Ukraine
Question of the Day
Discovery of foreign components represents a setback for the Obama administration’s non-proliferation policies. The administration has sought to use economic sanctions and financial controls to prevent North Korea from getting long-range missiles. But the North’s missile program has advanced steadily over the past decade, creating more lethal road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Additionally, Pyongyang’s use of foreign missile parts in the Taepodong-2 is expected to complicate the administration’s push to loosen exports controls on high-technology goods. President Obama has been seeking looser controls to boost U.S. economic competitiveness.
Covert weapons procurement networks by rogue states like North Korea and Iran, however, raise questions about whether loosening high-tech controls will increase national security threats to the U.S. and its allies.
Officials confirmed the foreign parts in the North Korean missile after the discovery was first reported last week by Japan’s NHK television.
U.S. and South Korean technicians discovered that the missile debris contained U.S.-made electronic circuits, British transmitters and a Swiss-made electrical component. Other parts were made in China and states of the former Soviet Union.
The parts were manufactured during the past several years, indicating they were procured covertly by the North Koreans despite multiple U.N. sanctions against such trade. The parts were described as dual-use components not covered directly by U.N. sanctions that North Korean procurement agents imported by circumventing international controls.
The discovery could result in future U.N. sanctions aimed at closing the loophole on dual-use components.
State Department spokeswoman Sandra Postell declined to comment. “We do not comment on intelligence matters,” she told Inside the Ring.
Thomas Moore, a former professional staff members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations involved in export control issues, said the discovery is “not particularly shocking to me.”
“You can expect to see many more of these items appearing in the missile programs of U.S. adversaries, given the relaxed posture evident in the Obama administration’s treatment of space technology export controls combined with the oft-stated but usual phrase of the era: ‘When it doubt, ship it out,’” Mr. Moore said.
“It’d be one thing if they were also working the threat by providing for better defense of the homeland from long-range attack, but they’ve gutted that, too,” he said. “I suppose their crass view might be that this makes lawyers and shifty businessmen more profitable, but really does show how far down we have come in the last decade.”
U.S. intelligence agencies estimate North Korea will be capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead within the next two years.
• Contact Bill Gertz at @BillGertz.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Computer glitch caused odd Saturday release of D.C. guns ruling
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq