The Global Intelligence News Portal
The United States releases photographs of what it claims is a Syrian nuclear reactor built with North Korean help.
The reactor was destroyed by Israel in an air strike on 6 Sept 2007.
The attack was initially shrouded in secrecy out of what the Bush administration said was fear that public discussion could prompt Syria, which has long supported militant Palestinian groups, to retaliate.
"We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement.
"We have good reason to believe that reactor, which was damaged beyond repair on Sept. 6 of last year, was not intended for peaceful purposes," she said.
In detailed briefings to U.S. lawmakers and reporters, U.S. officials produced before-and-after aerial photographs of the suspected reactor in eastern Syria as well as detailed interior images that they said showed key parts of its components.
The United States did not give Israel any "green light" to strike the suspected nuclear reactor, a U.S. official said.
Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha denied the U.S. charge. "This is a fantasy," he told CNN after being briefed by the U.S. State Department on the U.S. intelligence.
"I hope the truth will be revealed to everybody," Moustapha said. "This will be a major embarrassment to the U.S. administration for a second time - they lied about Iraqi WMDs and they think they can do it again."
Washington's main justification for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion was that Iraq had stockpiles of WMDs. Such weapons have not been found.
The White House statement, which did not mention Israel, said Syria had been building a "covert nuclear reactor" in its eastern desert that was capable of producing plutonium.
One of the photographs presented to lawmakers and reporters showed what U.S. intelligence officials described as a senior North Korean nuclear expert standing side by side with a key Syrian atomic official inside Syria.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said the suspected reactor closely resembled the Yongbyon nuclear facility in North Korea.
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