As tensions remain high between North Korea and the U.S., the director of the CIA indicated that President Donald Trump is being briefed by the agency on the risks and opportunities that would result from a limited attack against the hostile regime.
Mike Pompeo revealed this information during a Tuesday speech at the American Enterprise Institute, and though he would not discuss the “wisdom of a preemptive strike,” he admitted the regime’s nuclear program is an urgent priority for the agency, according to The Daily Beast.
“We’re working to prepare a series of options to make sure that we can deliver a range of things so the president will have the full suite of possibilities,” Pompeo said. “The president is intent on delivering this solution through diplomatic means.”
“We are equally at the same time ensuring that if we conclude that is not possible, that we present the president a range of options to achieve what is his stated intention,” he added.
Pompeo described these “options” as a means to “denuclearize permanently” North Korea, noting that “we’re going foreclose this risk.”
The director spoke on behalf of the information he claims the CIA assessed. He believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be a rational man but is unsure as to how serious the dictator considers the prospect of a U.S. attack.
Pompeo didn’t say whether or not options exist for Trump to attack North Korea without sparking a nuclear war, though analysts have warned that even a limited strike could eventually lead to a nuclear conflict.
The CIA director indicated that the administration is developing numerous options, spanning from diplomacy to war, in order to avoid having to choose between inaction against the regime and a possible nuclear catastrophe.
But in the past months, some analysts have expressed concern with the CIA’s current analysis and statements made by the president.
In October, Trump said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time” in trying to negotiate with Kim. In August, meanwhile, Trump stated that any provocation from North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
According to a former North Korean spy it’s not possible to denuclearize the regime with diplomacy.
“North Korea won’t give up its nuclear weapons,” said Kim Hyon-hui. “They’re its lifeline.”
Just before Christmas, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis echoed those same fears by stating that “storm clouds are gathering” in the wake of the growing threat.
Many within the CIA believe the missile program in North Korea is aimed at coercion, rather than self-defense.
The next logical step, they suggest, would be for the regime to develop an arsenal of weapons with the capability to fire multiple missiles toward the U.S. in an effort to achieve maximum destruction.
And the possibility of destruction may only get worse, Pompeo said, adding that he spoke last week about North Korea being only a “handful of months” away from a successful nuclear attack.
“I said the same thing several months before that,” Pompeo said. “I want everybody to understand that we are working diligently to make sure that a year from now I can still tell you they are several months away from having that capacity.”
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