North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean warship may herald a “dangerous new period”, the nominee to be US director of national intelligence has warned.
James Clapper told a Senate hearing that Pyongyang might seek “to advance its internal and external political goals through direct attacks”.
President Barack Obama chose the retired general and under-secretary of defence to be the new DNI in June.
If confirmed, Mr Clapper will replace Adm Dennis Blair, who resigned the previous month after a series of national security failures, including the failure to detect the Christmas Day airline bomb plot.
The DNI is charged with overseeing the 16 agencies that make up the US intelligence community, including the CIA and the NSA.
At his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Mr Clapper chose to highlight the growing concerns within the agencies about North Korea’s recent actions.
He said the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, which a South Korean-led inquiry found was the result of a North Korean torpedo attack, and unsuccessful attempts to assassinate a senior North Korean defector reminded him of the bombing of Korean Airlines Flight 858 in 1987.