North Korea

US wages secret cyber operations against North Korea missile program

Insight from New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger

 

American cyberwarriors are trying to sabotage North Korea’s missile program — but analysts argue over whether the effort has had real results, a New York Times investigation found.

Soon after ex-President Obama ordered the secret program three years ago, North Korean missiles began exploding, veering off course or crashing into the sea, the newspaper said Saturday.

By most accounts, the North Korean missile failures were caused by US sabotage, the Times says. But it’s also likely many of the missile failures resulted from North Korean incompetence.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un may have been rattled by the US cyber effort. Last fall, he was widely reported to have ordered an investigation into whether the US was sabotaging his country’s missiles.

Kim has said his country is in the final stage or preparations of launching an intercontinental missile that could reach much of the world. It might be a bluff — or it might not.

Obama reportedly ordered the cyber sabotage in early 2014 after deciding that 60 years of US efforts to figure out how to shoot down incoming missiles had not yielded a system that would reliably defend against a missile attack.

Obama’s effort is now left to President Trump and his administration. According to a senior administration official, the White House is looking at pre-emptive military strike options, the Times said.

It’s also possible the US will move tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea. The weapons were withdrawn about 25 years ago.

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