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Background Briefing with Senior U.S. Officials on Syria’s Covert Nuclear Reactor and North Korea’s Involvement

Published April 24, 2008

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided this transcript;two senior intelligence officials gave this press briefing on April 24, 2008 after briefing Congress on the same matter. The officials said, regarding North Korea's involvement in helping Syria build a nuclear reactor,

"It was constructed by the Syrians in the eastern desert of Syria along the Euphrates River on the east side. The Syrians constructed this reactor for the production of plutonium with the assistance of the North Koreans.

Our evidence goes back an extended period of time. We have had insights to what was going on since very late '90s, early 2000, 2001 that something was happening. Our issue was pinning it down and being more precise. We had increasing appreciation for what was happening in the 2003, 2006 timeframe. But we still couldn't quite pin it down, as will become apparent to you when we show you more of the physical evidence that you'll see in just a moment.

In the spring of last year, we were able to obtain some additional information that made it conclusive. And so, we engaged in this policy process of now that we have the evidence, what do we do about it? The evidence concluded a nuclear reactor, as I mentioned, constructed by the Syrians, started probably in 2001, completed in the summer of 2007. And it was nearing operational capability."

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