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The US Reportedly Has 'Unequivocal Evidence' That North Korea Is 'Trying To Deceive' Trump On Its Nuclear Program
As President Donald Trump touted a new era of diplomacy with the North Korean regime, a classified intelligence assessment appeared to tell a different story, according to several U.S. intelligence officials.
The assessment revealed that, in recent months, North Korea had upped its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at several secret sites, according to over a dozen intelligence officials cited in an NBC News report published Friday. The officials said they believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be trying to conceal the secret facilities from the US.
"Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles," one senior US intelligence official said to NBC News. "We are watching closely."
According to five US officials cited by NBC News, the North Korean regime was increasing production of enriched uranium, even as relations with the US improved following the 2018 Winter Olympics. And since the leaders of both countries held a summit in Singapore in mid-June, the Trump administration has already delivered some concessions to the North.
Trump halted Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a major joint military drill with South Korea that was scheduled for August. The military exercises have been a point of contention for North Korea, which sees them as a direct threat. The US and South Korea treat the drills as defensive measures.
During the U.S.-North Korea summit, the first such meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, the two men pledged to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." It was a vast departure from 2017. when both Trump and Kim were openly threatening nuclear war. But the broad and nondescript document fell short of a specific plan or goal and was criticized by foreign-policy experts.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts to North Korea's latest ballistic rocket test-fire through a precision control guidance system.Jared Keller
And though North Korea took several steps to indicate it was in the process of dismantling its weapons program, such as blowing up tunnels leading to a nuclear test site, critics who monitored the development say it may have all been for show.
"There's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production," a US official familiar with the intelligence report told NBC. "There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US."
"There are lots of things that we know that North Korea has tried to hide from us for a long time," another intelligence official added.
The intelligence report may also confirm the theory held by many arms experts: that North Korea possesses a second, undisclosed nuclear enrichment facility. In 2008, North Korea signaled it would curb its nuclear program by televising the destruction of a water-cooling tower at a plutonium extraction facility, only to announce that it would "readjust and restart" in 2013.
The report also calls into question Trump's claim that North Korea no longer poses as a nuclear threat to the US: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," Trump tweeted in June, after returning from his meeting with Kim. "Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed and directly contradicted Trump's claim.
"I'm confident what [Trump] intended there was, 'we did reduce the threat,'" Pompeo said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "I don't think there's any doubt about that."
Read more from Business Insider:
- Trump was reportedly surprised by the number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany and expressed interest in pulling some of them out
- Under Trump, the Pentagon is less concerned about deterring war than it has been for decades
- North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un 'is a terrorist'
- Putin is boasting that new Russian weapons are decades ahead of foreign rivals
- Chinese President Xi to Mattis: We will never give 'even one inch' in the South China Sea
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"