North Korean Arms Deal Thwarted By U.S.

Shortly before dropping North Korea from the blacklist of states that support terrorism this summer, the Bush administration apparently thwarted the transfer of missile parts from Pyongyang to Iran. According to U.S. officials who wished to remain anonymous, on Aug. 4, India granted a North Korean state aircraft permission to cross its airspace on a "non-scheduled" trip to Tehran. But three days later, India's prime minister withdrew the flight's clearance. The U.S. officials confirm that the White House was behind the move. The reason? Americans thought the plane was carrying gyroscopes for missile guidance systems, reinforcing concerns that North Korea can't be trusted. Yet the Bush administration still removed Pyongyang from the blacklist anyway—demonstrating the extent to which conservative influence has waned in the Bush presidency's final months.