Pentagon chief secure US can hit N. Korean missile

The Pentagon's missile defense chief predicted on Friday that interceptor rockets would hit and destroy a North Korean missile in flight if President George W. Bush gave the order to attack it on a path to US territory. Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told reporters he has little doubt that the interceptor system would work, even though it has never been used in a real emergency and even though the US government knows relatively little about how the North Korean missile would perform. Obering refused to say whether the US missile defense system is ready now for a possible intercept mission, but noted that it has been designed specifically to defend US territory against known missile threats from North Korea. "(From) what I have seen and what I know about the system and its capabilities, I am very confident," he said when asked at a news conference about the likelihood that one of the 11 missile interceptors based in Alaska and California would succeed against North Korea's long-range Taepodong 2 missile.