U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea has been “deceiving” the U.S., saying the Hermit Kingdom was bolstering production for nuclear weapons at “multiple secret sites” in the past few months, a report stated.
Officials from the CIA and other intelligence agencies told NBC News the regime has increased its production of enriched uranium for the weapons despite the historic summit earlier this month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump. Kim and Trump both signed a document on June 12 stating that Pyongyang would work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump said he would be ending joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
However, the officials believed North Korea was “positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival,” NBC News reported.
One U.S. official said the regime has stopped nuclear and missile tests but "there's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production.”
"There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.,” the official said.
Four other U.S. officials said the Hermit Kingdom was purposely trying to mislead the U.S.
"There are lots of things that we know that North Korea has tried to hide from us for a long time,” one U.S. official said.
The report stated that North Korea has “at least one undeclared facility to enrich nuclear fuel” besides Yongbyon, the main nuclear location.
Joel Wit, a former diplomat who helped the U.S. negotiate with North Korea including a nuclear agreement between the U.S. and the regime in 1994, said the U.S. believed the rogue regime had two sites to “enrich nuclear fuel” including Yongbyon and another, but the name of the center was not revealed.
"People have been open to the possibility there might be more," he said.
Officials said that the “assessment concludes that there is more than one secret site” but would Kim admit it?
"This is why people want North Korea to declare all its facilities up front,” Wit said.
Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst, said, "The observed activity appears inconsistent with a North Korean intent to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.
"There seems little reason to continue expansion plans if the regime intended to dismantle them as would be required under a denuclearization agreement,” he continued.
However, one official pointed out that, despite the assessment, the talks between the U.S. and North Korea were positive and Kim’s decision to destroy a major missile-testing site and suspend nuclear and missile tests were a step forward. The official pointed out that intelligence analysts firmly believe the rogue regime was attempting to deceive the U.S.
"Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles," the official said. "We are watching closely."
The assessment comes just days after a report from 38 North, a website specializing in analysis of the rogue nation, that stated North Korea was making improvements to the Yongbyon facility.
Last week, Trump underscored the point of “total denuclearization,” while noting that it “has already started taking place."
Fox News’ Benjamin Brown and Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.