POLITICS

McFarland 'no comment' on reports US sabotaged North Korea missile launch, calls launch a 'fizzle'

President Trump's deputy national security adviser provides insight on 'Fox News Sunday'

 

Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland on Sunday declined to say whether the U.S. cyber-sabotaged North Korea’s failed missile launch, saying only that it was “a fizzle.”

“You know we can’t talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations,” McFarland told “Fox News Sunday.” “I really have no comment.”

Still, McFarland, a former Fox News contributor, said the failed non-nuclear missile test Sunday by the rogue nation was one of about 30 failed attempts and that cyberwar is now a big part of the geo-political landscape.

“I do think we are entering a whole new era, not just with North Korea but with everybody,” she said, amid speculation the U.S. foiled the launch with a cyber-attack.

“With any country, major country, we are entering a cyber platform, a cyber battlefield. That is where a lot of the wars of the future are going to be fought.”

Pence says N Korea's latest 'provocation' shows risk to military

President Trump and other world leaders are concerned about North Korea’s nuclear tests and efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

And Trump has recently tried to improve his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and solicit his help in reining in North Korea’s nuclear pursuits.

U.S. officials think Sunday's test involved a medium-range ballistic missile that failed within 4-5 seconds after launch and that it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile.

And officials said “other actions would have been taken by the U.S.,” had the failed launch been a nuclear test.

The high-profile failure came hours before Vice President Pence arrived in South Korea and as an American aircraft supercarrier approached the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

McFarland and other U.S. officials say they had good intelligence about the launch, in part because North Korea this weekend was holding one of its biggest propaganda events of the year -- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the country's current leader, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two last year. Recent satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

“We all understand that the Korean peninsula should be denuclearized,” McFarland said Sunday.   

She also declined to say whether she is being pushed out of the White House and its National Security Council now that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has been replaced as National Security Adviser by Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

“President Trump hired me,” said McFarland, who reportedly is being asked to become ambassador to Singapore. “There are changes coming. But I am not going to tell you what they are.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.