DNI chief says Lamborn read classified information

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By KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday that a congressman inadvertently revealed classified information when he read aloud a passage from a Defense Intelligence Agency report that said North Korea had the knowhow to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the paragraph that Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, read at a House hearing last week was "mischaracterized as unclassified."

"The section in question was clearly labeled as unclassified. Additionally, Armed Services Committee staff confirmed the classification level of the relevant section in writing with DIA before it was introduced in last week's hearing," said Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the Republican majority on the House Armed Services Committee.

DNI spokesman Shawn Turner said by email that the DIA mislabeled that section of the report.

Clapper repeated his contention in the hearing that North Korea has made progress on its ballistic missile and nuclear program, but has not fully developed, tested or demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile, and that the DIA report went further than the rest of the intelligence community.

Clapper said the difference of opinion was part of the "healthy debate and disagreement," over the issue.

DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also testified, said the 7-page classified document was produced in March, and said the "differences in levels of assessment" on North Korea's capability stemmed from "a difference in how we judge assumptions in this case," but he refused to provide further detail in an open hearing.

"The section in question was clearly labeled as unclassified. Additionally, Armed Services Committee staff confirmed the classification level of the relevant section in writing with DIA before it was introduced in last week's hearing," said Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the Republican majority on the House Armed Services Committee.

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Dozier can be followed on Twitter (at)kimberlydozier.

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