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By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - James D. Thurman
Computer hackers leaked personal information about thousands of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday, adding it is investigating the security breach, which came a day after cyberattacks knocked South Korean government and news websites offline.
A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul.
Heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula have led the United States to postpone congressional testimony by the top U.S. military commander in South Korea and delay a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile test from a West Coast base.
The greatest danger on the divided Korean Peninsula, where bellicose nuclear rhetoric from the North and muscle-flexing joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul in the South have ratcheted tension to a fever pitch, is that an accident or miscalculation inadvertently could escalate into an all-out war, according to the general commanding U.S. military forces there.
Investigators have yet to pinpoint the culprit behind a synchronized cyberattack in South Korea last week. But in Seoul, the focus remains fixed on North Korea, where South Korean security experts say Pyongyang has been training a team of computer-savvy "cyberwarriors" as cyberspace becomes a fertile battleground in the standoff between the two Koreas.
Top U.S. defense officials Wednesday expressed pessimism that North Korea would scrap its plans to launch a satellite next month using a long-range missile in violation of international restrictions.
Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of U.S. military forces in Korea, says Pyongyang's new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, the KN-08, poses a threat because of the difficulty of tracking and targeting the hard-to-find systems.
North Korean cyberattacks "have been increasingly employed against a variety of targets including military, governmental, educational and commercial institutions" in the South, Gen. Thurman said.