US Officials: N. Korea 'Trying to Deceive the US'

Sources tell NBC News that intelligence report suggests multiple sites boosting nuclear fuel output
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2018 8:20 AM CDT
US Officials: N. Korea 'Trying to Deceive the US'
In this June 12, 2018, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un listens to US President Trump during a meeting in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Just a little over two weeks ago, President Trump tweeted, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," touting a vague agreement between the US and North Korea to work toward denuclearization. Many noted his post-summit declaration was unlikely, and recent satellite images lent credence to their doubt, showing infrastructure work at the Yongbyon nuclear site continuing at a "rapid pace." Now, more than a dozen US officials inform NBC News on US intelligence agencies' new suspicions: that Kim Jong Un has multiple sites boosting output of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, and that Kim Jong Un is trying to keep them under cover while still vying for concessions with the US. "There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US," says one official who's been briefed on the intelligence report; four other officials agree.

A senior US intelligence official notes specifically what that deception involves: "The number of facilities, the number of weapons, [and] the number of missiles." And another intelligence official says there are actually "lots of things" North Korea has tried to keep secret, revelations made as the US has augmented its spying efforts over the past few years. Most notably, per the intelligence report, it's now believed that, in addition to Yongbyon and a second secret site that's been long suspected, there's at least one more. "This is why people want North Korea to declare all its facilities up front," says Joel Wit, founder of the 38 North website dedicated to keeping an eye on North Korea. The White House didn't respond to an NBC comment request; Reuters also tried, to no avail, to get comments from the White House, State Department, and CIA. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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