How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea

WASHINGTON — At the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, American intelligence agencies told the new administration that while North Korea had built the bomb, there was still ample time — upward of four years — to slow or stop its development of a missile capable of hitting an American city with a nuclear warhead.

The North’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, faced a range of troubles, they assured the new administration, giving Mr. Trump time to explore negotiations or pursue countermeasures. One official who participated in the early policy reviews said estimates suggested Mr. Kim would be unable to strike the continental United States until 2020, perhaps even 2022.

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  • Watchman

    I think the US intelligence agencies got their assessments from the highest possible level: Barack Obama himself. The intelligence agencies seem to have been staffed by dedicated Democrats, whose ideological loyalty has allowed them to dismiss any intelligence that contradicts top Democrat talking points.

  • Reader

    China providing banned military and other supplies to North Korea certainly could be a contributing factor in this.

  • ECM

    Underestimate? The problem w/ US inaptly named “intelligence” is that they are slaves to the status quo and can’t think outside of the box because no oxygen has entered the (very cramped) box for 60-years.

  • People put the Chinese-backed North Korea on the back-burner and are now shocked to see it is emerging as the East Asian Pakistan.

    This is what happens when you don’t finish wars or kill Mao Tse Tung.

    • JoKeR

      But President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with North Korea that forever prevented them from getting nuclear weapons or having an nuclear program!

  • Barrington Minge

    With a delusional Trump on one side and a delusional Kim on the other what hope is there?