Mad Gorka: Has the U.S. Put a Cyber-Target on North Korea's Missile Program?

A man watches a TV news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 29, 2017. A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the second such test-fire flop in recent weeks but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. The letters on top left, reading "North Korea fired a ballistic missile." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Did I say he left the White House mad?

While speaking with Fox News, the ousted White House aide, Sebastian Gorka, seemed to be dropping clues about American cyber activity, aimed at North Korea.


Said Gorka:

“There’s many options in the more covert side of things,” Gorka told Fox News when asked about President Trump’s missile defense options in the wake of North Korea’s test-fire of a missile that flew over the territory of Japan on Monday evening.

“You’ve seen a lot of missile tests fail, most tests actually fail,” he said. “Sometimes there may be reasons other than just the incompetence of North Korea.”

Oh, really?

The idea of using advanced cyberattacks as a means of security against adversaries isn’t a new thing.

In 2014, President Obama was believed to have asked that the Pentagon increase cyber activity to thwart test launches out of North Korea.

Since then, a staggering 88 percent of tests of North Korea’s intermediate-range missile, the Musudan, have failed, according to The New York Times.

The frequency of those launch failures suggests a U.S. effort, if it is being carried out, is working. But without the ability to do forensics analysis, it’s nearly impossible to determine what caused any given failure. It could be shoddy materials and poor engineering, or a piece of U.S. malware.


Gorka was reportedly unable to get a security clearance during his time in the White House, so just how much accurate information he’s privy to is questionable.

Experts have another explanation for the missile failures.

“North Korea is pushing really hard to pursue ballistic missiles. Any accelerated program experiences many failures,” Joseph Bermudez, an analyst for 38 North, a program of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told The Hill after an April launch failure.

“The probability is higher for this to be failures produced by an aggressive program with limited resources.”

Gorka probably wasn’t far off base with what he seemed to be suggesting, but we can’t be sure.

Until we do know more, or it’s confirmed through some other source, maybe take the disgruntled ex-employee’s word with a grain of salt.


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