Conflicting Statements by Military, White House on Preparations for North Korean Launch Raise Questions

March 26, 2009

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Jeff Flake (R-AZ) today, in a letter to National Security Advisor James Jones, sought clarification and a briefing on the Administration’s plans and defensive preparations in advance of North Korea’s anticipated missile test.

The letter notes that statements expressed by U.S. military leaders, “appear out of sync with Administration views.”

In their letter to Jones, Reps. Issa and Flake note repeated statements by uniformed leaders concerning the U.S. defensive capabilities and the need for preparations in advance of North Korea’s anticipated missile test.  The letter follows reporting by Newsweek that an anonymous Obama Administration said Admiral Timothy Keating, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, was “way out of line to suggest that Obama might use the system now to thwart North Korea, noting that the president has been trying delicately to engage Kim Jong Il's regime.”

The letter asks Jones to respond if these discrepancies indicate that there is “little or no communication between senior military commanders and the White House on these serious matters” or if the Administration has decided against, “heeding advice from commanders on the ground” in the case of North Korea’s preparations for a missile launch.