This image provided by the Central Intelligence Agency shows a binder that contains publicly released copies of the President’s Daily Brief’s during the late 1960s. After the political convention confetti is swept away, a more sobering tradition of the presidential election begins: The regular, top-secret intelligence briefings for the nominees. President Harry S. Truman started the briefings to get candidates up to speed before they take office. (CIA via AP)
According to NBC, the CIA has determined that North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons but might be amenable to allowing a Western “burger joint” to operate.
A new U.S. intelligence assessment has concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, three U.S. officials told NBC News — a finding that conflicts with recent statements by President Donald Trump that Pyongyang intends to do so in the future.
Trump is continuing to pursue a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even though the CIA analysis, which is consistent with other expert opinion, casts doubt on the viability of Trump’s stated goal for the negotiations, the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” said one intelligence official who read the report, which was circulated earlier this month, days before Trump canceled the originally scheduled summit.
In an odd twist, a list of potential concessions by North Korea in the CIA analysis included the possibility that Kim Jong Un may consider offering to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill, according to three national security officials.
One of the reporters on this, Ken Delanian, is not only intimately associated with FusionGPS, he’s also a well-known conduit used by the CIA to channel leaks and to place the agency’s spin on damaging stories.
Recently released emails indicate that prominent national security reporter Ken Dilanian — formerly with the Los Angeles Times, currently with the Associated Press (and from 1997-2007 the Philadelphia Inquirer) — shared stories prior to publication with CIA press office seeking their approval, according to a story up on The Intercept. Now, it is not uncommon for national security reporters to vet facts with government functionaries, but the emails indicate Dilanian went much further than that, not only sharing stories prior to publication (a big no-no in almost every newsroom) but he also entered into discussions about how the CIA could bend public opinion of drone strikes their way.
On at least one occasion he re-wrote a lede as per their dictates. He also reported as fact, in the pages of the Los Angeles Times, a CIA claim that there was no collateral murder in a 2012 drone strike on Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi. An Amnesty International report disputes that sanitized version of events, citing eyewitnesses that claim upwards of 15 people, including Afghan tribesmen unaffiliated with Al Qaeda, were killed in the drone strike. Obviously, a drone strike that only kills the bad guys is much more palatable to the American people than a drone strike that kills 15. But that’s not journalism, that’s propaganda.
This leak of a report that is highly speculative:
The report, like nearly all intelligence products on North Korea, offered analysis at low or medium confidence — language intelligence agencies use to signal that analysts lack hard information to buttress their conclusions.
and which also suggests that the analysts are fundamentally unaware of the food situation in North Korea is difficult to view as anything but an effort to demean President Trump’s effort to find an acceptable path to North Korea’s denuclearization.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the stellar product your tax dollars pay for. This is the product of an agency that John Brennan weaponized and turned into an arm of the Democrat party. One wishes one could say that this behavior was unusual, but it isn’t. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the CIA expedited the clearance of a book by Clinton intelligence official, Richard Clarke, that was highly critical of George Bush. The CIA also made a point of leaking “aardwolf” memos, top secret area assessments from Iraq, that continued to be negative even after The Surge broke the back of the insurgency in Sunni Iraq.
The report leaked in to generate this story calls into question the integrity and discipline within the CIA. It seems cheap and snarky and spiteful and calculated to denigrate an effort by several world leaders, Trump among them, to avoid a military confrontation with North Korea. It is a solid bet that six months ago these same analysts would have pooh-poohed the idea of Trump and Kim meeting at all. None of us knows what will come of this meeting but what we do know is that the CIA is showing itself to be a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.