Reports of recent activity at a North Korean nuclear site are leaving U.S. officials on shaky ground.
"We know North Korea is going to do another nuclear test, just as we know that they're going to do an ICBM test eventually. We just don't know when," said Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst.
Continued uncertainty about an erratic leader in a country where little can be investigated is just one aspect of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s new job.
“He wants to have that nuclear capability. Our job is to make sure he knows that there are some parameters which we won’t let him out of,” Perry said in an interview last week.
The energy secretary also stated he’s concerned about Iran’s commitment to the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Part of the Department of Energy’s role is to investigate, to make sure Iran is living up to this deal,” Perry said.
Still Perry and his boss have signaled the deal may not stick, especially after Iran’s ballistic missile test earlier this year. Trump said in February, “Nothing is off the table.”
"I didn’t think it was a good deal when we signed it. I think we’re finding out things about it on a regular basis that the American people didn’t know about or was misrepresented,” Perry added.
In a major about-face from the Obama administration, which moved to cut back the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Trump tweeted late last year, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”
Despite what many people think, the main mission of Department of Energy is overseeing America’s vast nuclear arsenal, as well as policies about handling and disposing of dangerous nuclear material. About two-thirds of the agency’s budget is devoted to it.