A former high-ranking government official who is an intelligence expert regarding nuclear weapons, told The Daily Wire recently, in part one of an exclusive interview, that North Korea’s nuclear weapons could potentially be far more powerful than current U.S. estimates.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served as the chief of staff on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA.
“There’s a big surprise waiting in the wings — we might still be grossly underestimating the yield of [North Korea’s] nuclear weapons, by as much as 10-fold,” Pry told The Daily Wire.
“The last H-bomb test, they started off estimating that 70 kilotons, now the intelligence community estimates is that it’s 250 kilotons — which is 25 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb,” Pry warned. “But they could be getting that wrong, it could actually be 2,500 kilotons or 2.5 megatons.”
Pry said that U.S. intelligence officials base their estimates of the magnitude of North Korea’s nuclear weapons based on seismic signals — extrapolating the yield of the weapon from the seismic signals.
Pry warned that North Korea could “decouple” a nuclear test very easily which would completely throw off any estimates on what the nuclear weapon’s yield is based on seismic readings.
“Instead of dropping the bomb into a tight-fitting tunnel, which is the way it’s normally done, if you were to detonate the bomb in a cavern so that it’s not well packed into the soil geology — you can reduce the seismic signal by as much as 10-fold,” Pry explained. “So, a bomb that looks like it’s 250 kilotons could actually be 2.5 megatons.”
There is evidence that supports the theory that North Korea might be decoupling their nuclear weapons tests.
“During North Korea’s last test in September, people were puzzled because there was a second seismic signal following the blast and the speculation was that ‘well there had been so many tests conducted in the mountain that maybe one of the tunnels collapsed,’” Pray continued. “The second seismic blip could have been the cavern caving in after they did the test.”
On Monday, The Telegraph reported that Japanese media sources claimed that approximately 200 North Korean workers died when a nuclear weapons test site collapsed in the world’s most isolated nation:
Sources in North Korea told the news channel that a tunnel being excavated by around 100 workers at the Punggye-ri test site collapsed earlier this month.
An additional 100 labourers sent to rescue their colleagues were reportedly killed when the tunnel suffered a second collapse.
An exact date for the disaster has not been provided, but it comes shortly after North Korea conducted its sixth - and most powerful - underground nuclear test at the site.
Defense Secretary James Mattis warned on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea, that the threat of a North Korean launching a nuclear missile attack is rapidly accelerating.
“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” Mattis said. “I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”
Mattis said that the preferred course of action is diplomacy and that ensuring peace and avoiding war is a top priority for the Trump administration.
“With that said,” Mattis continued, “make no mistake — any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming.”