CIA officials scheduled a Thursday briefing with members of Congress to disclose that North Korea had been helping Syria build a plutonium-based nuclear reactor before the site was destroyed by an Israeli air raid last September.
The officials will also say they believe the reactor would have been capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons, according to the Los Angeles Times.
New intelligence gathered last year convinced the CIA that a suspicious facility being constructed in a remote part of Syria was a reactor, the officials will divulge at the classified briefing for members of several congressional committees.
The disclosure of the relationship between Syria and North Korea to the committees “is likely to bring criticism from conservative lawmakers who already believe that U.S. overtures to North Korea have offered the government in Pyongyang too many benefits without assurances that it will disclose the extent of its nuclear arms effort or ultimately surrender its weapons,” the Times reported.
The administration had previously briefed only senior members of the House and Senate intelligence committees about the Syria-North Korea connection.
A Senate aide speaking on the condition of anonymity surmised that the purpose of the new briefing is to inform lawmakers about the connection before releasing some of the information publicly.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, complained earlier that the administration had “thrown an unprecedented veil of secrecy around the Israeli airstrike.”
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