(NationalSentinel) North Korea: The crisis over North Korea took some twists and turns overnight, including a failed missile launch that some believe was due to U.S. hacking, and President Donald J. Trump pledging to take out Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons sites.
First, the failed launch. As reported by Britain’s The Sun:
The U.S. may have sabotaged Kim Jong-un’s missile test yesterday through a cyber-attack causing the rocket to spectacularly flop, according to a former British foreign secretary.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind claims American intelligence has used cyber warfare to successfully foil missile tests before and that there is a “strong belief” that President Trump’s administration was behind North Korea’s latest failed launch.
Speaking with the BBC, he said: “It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US through cyber methods has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail.”
But Sir Malcolm, who served as foreign secretary from 1995 to 1997 in John Major’s government, did warn that despite the missile flop, North Korea remains a serious nuclear threat.
He said: “But don’t get too excited by that, they’ve also had quite a lot of successful tests.
Additional reporting indicated that the missile blew up almost immediately after it took off, which strongly suggests that indeed, the launch was probably hacked. The New York Times reported last month that Trump inherited a cyberwar program from his predecessor; President Obama ordered the Pentagon to step up cyber attacks against North Korea’s missile program three years ago.
Now, the president. As The Australian reports, the White House appears to have decided not only can it attack and neutralize North Korea’s weapons program, but that it will neutralize it:
Donald Trump’s closest military advisers have told Britain that the US has the firepower to neutralise North Korea’s nuclear program — and may even launch a pre-emptive strike to do so.
In what will be seen as an attempt to pile pressure on China to intervene to prevent North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un from conducting a new nuclear test, senior sources said the US could “utterly destroy” the key targets using conventional weapons.
HR McMaster, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, has told British security chiefs and military commanders that America was confident that it had the intelligence to target the right sites and the capability to destroy them.
“They’ll do anything it takes,” said a senior British source.
“Nothing is off the table. They think they’ve got the capabilities to target things and utterly destroy them. They are confident they know where everything is, and can target it efficiently.”
The source added: “They are getting to the point where they think they may have to take out the facilities pre-emptively. Fallon reviewed things with Mattis a couple of weeks ago, what their different options were. They are much closer to taking military action than they were a year ago.”
Without question the Pentagon has war-gamed and studied and planned how best to strike North Korea’s various nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons for years. A strike would could include a massive cruise missile strike that would take out nuclear and chemical facilities and stockpiles first, followed by air defenses. Bombers that have been deployed to the region would then be free to focus on North Korea’s concentrated rocket and artillery forces.
As we noted on Saturday, all of the pieces appear to be in place: Air, naval and ground assets. Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to South Korea today on a brief Asian tour; no doubt he is bringing several military options with him.
The U.S. won’t strike with him in South Korea, but it could shortly after he leaves.