Thursday, October 12, 2006

US Intelligence Failures On Korea Mirror Iraq, India, Pakistan

The Washington Times has an article by Bill Gertz claiming that the twin failures to predict the July 4th missile launches and the recent nuke test are worrisome to US intelligence chief Negroponte, though his public affairs chief denied there were snafus in the runup to the nuke test:
The analyses also predicted that China would agree to impose tough U.S. sanctions on North Korea's arms exports and imports, something that has not occurred. However, the lack of clarity about the issue was one reason both Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not make stronger appeals to officials in China to press North Korea not to conduct the test, the officials said.
"It was an intelligence failure," said one administration official close to the issue.
Additionally, the weak assessments undermined the recent visit to China by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who did not have good enough intelligence to persuade Mr. Hu that a test was imminent and that he should use his government's influence on North Korea to stop it. Aides to Mr. Abe are said by U.S. officials to be upset that they could not help Mr. Abe better understand the nuclear test plans before the meetings.
China in 2003 temporarily cut off oil shipments to North Korea, an action Beijing has refused to use again either to prevent the missile tests or the nuclear test.
Carl Kropf, a spokesman for Mr. Negroponte, dismissed as false claims by officials who say U.S. intelligence analysis on North Korea was flawed. "That is absolutely wrong, that we were not tracking this issue for some period of time," he said.

The intell failures mirror the India and Pakistan nuke explosions in 1998 which both occurred without the CIA or other agencies being aware of the impending tests.

Also, overlooking clues that might have prevented the the 9/11 attacks and being unaware of the disappearance of Iraq's WMD are gigantic minuses on the recent record of US intelligence.

U.S. efforts to implose strong sanctions today on North Korea might be thwarted by reluctance of S. Korea and China [and Japan] to trust American assessments of the situation in Pyongyang.

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