Intel Community Says North Korea Is Deliberately Deceiving Us

Yonhap News/Newscom via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

After the summit in Singapore, reporters asked President Trump how fast we could expect progress on denuclearization. “It will go pretty quickly,” he said. “The timing will go quickly….it’s going to go very quickly. I really believe that it’s going to go fast.”

So how’s that prediction panning out?

In recent months, even as the two sides engaged in diplomacy, North Korea was stepping up its production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, five U.S. officials say, citing the latest intelligence assessment….While the North Koreans have stopped missile and nuclear tests, “there’s no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production,” said one U.S. official briefed on the latest intelligence. “There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.” Four other officials familiar with the intelligence assessment also said North Korea intended to deceive the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reported something similar a couple of days ago, but I got busy and never wrote about it. Today’s report from NBC News is considerably more detailed and considerably clearer. There’s simply no evidence that North Korea is doing the slightest thing to demonstrate any kind of good faith.

As usual, what’s interesting here is both the actual news—North Korea is still going full speed ahead—and the underlying news of why this got leaked. On that score, it’s obvious that Trump is, as usual, not paying any attention to his intelligence briefings, and a bunch of people at the CIA and elsewhere have finally gotten fed up. If the only information he takes seriously is what he sees each morning on Fox & Friends, then the only way to get his attention is to leak stuff in the hopes that it will show up there eventually. Helluva way to run a railroad.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate