Leon Panetta, current Director of the CIA and the Obama administration’s pick for Secretary of Defense, believes that North Korea’s ballistic missile program, uranium enrichment and one million-strong military poses a “growing and direct threat” to the United States.
In response to written questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Panetta also wrote, “I intend to monitor the security situation closely and maintain the capabilities necessary to protect our interests, defend our allies, and deter North Korea.”
Panetta added that there is a need for the United States to watch very carefully the development of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, and that he would work closely with America’s allies to do so.
Meanwhile, the US State Department has called for North Korea to show restraint amid South Korean intelligence reports that it tested a KN-06 missile last week.
Mark Toner, spokesman for the US State Department, said that the United States has not yet confirmed the missile test, adding, however, “I wouldn’t read too much into these kinds of tests. We’ve seen these kinds of tests before.”