A faction of insiders at the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly leaked intelligence on North Korea, undermining President Donald Trump’s campaign to denuclearize the communist regime and bring peace to the Korean peninsula.
NBC News published a report on June 29 alleging that “North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites.” The report cites “more than a dozen American officials” who are familiar with assessments by CIA analysts.
These claims run counter to the progress reports on North Korea provided by Trump and America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both say the joint statement signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump solidified Pyongyang’s commitment to peace and denuclearization.
“Many good conversations with North Korea——it is going well!” Trump wrote on Twitter on July 3. “In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!”
The unnamed officials appear to only have equipped the NBC journalists with talking points rather than concrete evidence. Instead, reporters Courtney Kube, Ken Dilanian, and Carol Lee, cited satellite imagery assessments by a think tank with explicit ties to the defense industry and private interests.
Dilanian, one of the NBC reporters, was outed in 2014 for having a problematic relationship with the press handlers at the CIA. He promised positive coverage and routinely submitted drafts of his stories to the agency. On at least one occasion, Dilanian significantly changed a story that was published in the Los Angeles Times based solely on the CIA’s reaction to his draft. The Times eventually disowned the reporter.
The CIA and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Since NBC’s unnamed sources did not provide any evidence for their claims, Kube, Dilanian, and Lee cite 38north, a think tank operated by the Henry L. Stimson Center. The center’s board of directors includes people with ties to for-profit defense corporations, including the Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman.
The 38north satellite imagery used in the NBC report was provided by a subsidiary of Airbus, a multinational defense and aerospace conglomerate.
Airbus, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman saw their share prices drop in the days after Trump’s summit with Kim.
People on the board of the Henry L. Stimson Center also have ties to private interests and endowments, including Warburg Pincus, Mercy Corps, the Carnegie Endowment, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Several board members have ties to the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the Treasury Department.
The unnamed officials in the CBS story allege that Kim is attempting to extract maximum concessions from the United States as part of the negotiations but does not intend to abandon its nuclear program.
Asked about the allegations in the report on July 3, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that she could not discuss intelligence matters, but pointed out that Pompeo was “very clear and very blunt with the North Koreans about what he expects” from the negotiations.
“We’re all keeping a very close eye on North Korea. And I’ll leave it at that.” Nauert said.
With the exception of Trump’s verbal promise to stop conducting war games with South Korea, all of the concessions to date have been made by North Korea. Kim released three American hostages, stopped testing nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, and agreed to put complete denuclearization on the table before meeting with Trump.
In the meantime, Trump and America’s allies have maintained crippling sanctions on North Korea. The president has said that the sanctions will remain in place until complete denuclearization is achieved.
Pompeo is scheduled to visit Pyongyang for the fourth time on July 5-7 to “to continue consultations and implement the forward progress made by President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore,” according to a statement from the State Department. He will be accompanied by Nauert and six reporters. Talks will revolve around the agreements made at the Singapore summit, Nauert added.
According to White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, Pompeo will present Washington’s plan to dismantle the bulk of North Korea’s nuclear program. Nauert would not provide any details of the upcoming discussions in Pyongyang or reveal the State Department’s timeline for denuclearization.
Bolton told CBS on July 1 that Washington has devised a program to dismantle North Korea’s chemical, biological nuclear, and ballistic missile programs in a year, provided that Pyongyang cooperates fully.
“If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they’re cooperative, we can move very quickly,” he said. “Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year.”
Trump and Kim signed a joint statement in Singapore on June 12. Kim committed to peace, complete denuclearization, and a reboot of Pyongyang’s relationship with Washington. Kim also agreed to repatriate the remains of American soldiers who perished in the Korean War.
Beyond the joint statement, Trump promised Kim he would suspend war games with South Korea. Kim vowed to destroy a missile engine testing site.
The United States is seeking complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. Trump and Pompeo have promised Kim and the North Korean people a bright future should Kim abandon nuclear weapons. North Korea is seeking security assurances since it views its nuclear weapons as a deterrent to invasion.
North Korea and South Korea, as well as all the nations involved in the Korean War, are still technically at war. The conflict was resolved with an armistice. Kim committed to negotiating a lasting peace agreement once with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and again with Trump in Singapore.
Asked why Trump is taking credit for achieving peace with North Korea, Nauert reminded reporters at the state department about a Pyongyang ballistic missile launch one year ago on July 4.
“We’re in a good spot today. The secretary is looking forward to having meetings with his North Korean counterparts. We go into this eyes wide open,” Nauert said. “But nevertheless we made a lot of progress in the past year.”
From The Epoch Times