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CIA: U.S. Vulnerable to Surprise

March 21, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Try as it might to know what’s going on in the world, the Central Intelligence Agency is more vulnerable than ever to surprise, Director George Tenet said Tuesday.

He blamed the rapid spread of new technologies and a greater ability to deceive the world on the part of countries that spread weapons of mass destruction.

``More than ever, we risk substantial surprise,″ Tenet told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on weapons proliferation.

``This is not for lack of effort on the part of the intelligence community. It results from significant effort on the part of proliferators.″

Tenet said efforts to halt proliferation of weapons are complicated because most programs to make weapons of mass destruction are based on technologies that have dual use _ that is, can be used for civilian as well as military applications.

In testimony about the types of weapons threat the U.S. faces and a review of various regions of the world, Tenet also said:

_Over the next 15 years, our cities will face ballistic missile threats from a wider variety of actors _ ``North Korea, probably Iran, possibly Iraq.″

_The proliferation of medium-range ballistic missiles, driven primarily by North Korean sales, is significantly altering strategic balances in the Middle East and Asia.

_Russia and China have improved their nonproliferation policies. But ``little positive can be said about North Korea, the third major global proliferator, whose incentive to engage in such behavior increases as it economy continues to decline.″

_The CIA has identified ``well over 50 states that are of concern as suppliers, conduits or potential proliferators.″

_Although 1999 did not witness the kind of dramatic terrorist attacks that 1998 did, the U.S. ``profile in the world and thus our attraction as a terrorist target will not diminish any time soon.″

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