WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republican leaders in Congress received a dire warning on Tuesday from former Vice President Dick Cheney on the ongoing crisis in North Korea.
“We’re in deep doo doo,” Cheney told lawmakers, according to a GOP leadership aide.
Cheney added that the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is unpredictable and doesn’t share the United States worldview.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration believes it is likely North Korea may test-fire mobile ballistic missiles at any time, based on the most recent intelligence showing Pyongyang probably has completed launch preparations, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
The administration believes a test launch could happen without North Korea issuing a standard notice to commercial aviation and maritime shipping warning them to stay away from the missile’s path, according to the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the information.
He cautioned most of the information comes from satellite imagery, so it’s impossible to reach a definitive conclusion because the United States has no means to gather information on the ground.
“We hope they issue a notification, but at this point we don’t expect it. We are working on the assumption they won’t,” the official said.
He said the launch could be “imminent,” but also cautioned that the United States “simply doesn’t know.”
Imagery has been impeded by bad weather, which means there is less than perfect knowledge about what is happening on the ground. But based on what the United States has seen, the belief is that the missiles have received their liquid fuel and are ready for launch.
After any launch, U.S. satellites and radars in the region would be able to calculate the trajectory of missiles within minutes and quickly conclude whether they are on a test path headed for open ocean or potentially headed for land areas such as Japan.