Despite escalating tensions with North Korea, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Sunday that nuclear war is not "imminent".
He conducted two in July, so it wouldn't surprise me if there was another missile test, ' Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday.
"I think we're not closer to war than a week ago, but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago", National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told ABC News' "This Week".
They said the United States and its allies can no longer afford to stand by as North Korea pushes ahead with the development of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.
He played down the gravity of Trump's tweet Friday that the US military is "locked and loaded" to respond to North Korea's threats.
Asked if the United States was prepared to handle a hostile act by North Korea, Mattis said: "We are ready".
North Korea said on Thursday that plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, 2,175 miles away.
"The United States military is locked and loaded every day, and especially those who are on the front lines of freedom", said McMaster, who's also an Army lieutenant general.
Pressed on his "nothing imminent" statement, Pompeo said: "What I'm talking about is, I've heard folks talking about that we have been on the cusp of a nuclear war".
North Korean officials in turn have accused the USA leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
US financial markets took the rhetorical escalation in stride on Friday even as European and Asian markets weakened in a catch-up reaction to Thursday's drop.
He said the USA intelligence community has "a pretty good idea" about what's going on in North Korea.
Vice President Pence began a tour through South American on Sunday, but was not expected to make a stop in Venezuela.
Clapper also called for a de-escalation in rhetoric from President Donald Trump, because of Kim Jong Un's unpredictability. China is the North's biggest economic partner and source of aid, but says it alone can't compel its wayward ally to end its nuclear and missile programs.
"When I served in Korea many years ago as the director of intelligence USA forces in Korea, what I was anxious about was an incendiary event getting out of hand", Clapper added.
In response, Mr Trump said North Korea should expect "big, big trouble" if anything happened to Guam.