Late last week, NBC News suggested North Korea increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons in recent months and now may be trying to hide this from the US as peace negotiations continue. But reporting by other outlets suggests this story may be another example of fake news.
The stories, which report North Korean is still building up nuclear forces are based on a piece from NBC News under the headline: “North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites, say US officials” and the subhead: “’Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of officials,’ said one US official,”
The NBC News story says North Korea “has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months – and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.”
It doesn’t name a source for its information and appears to avoid a direct claim that the information came from the CIA.
“The intelligence assessment, which has not previously been reported, seems to counter the sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after his June 12 summit with Kim that ‘there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,’” NBC News wrote.
“Analysts at the CIA and other intelligence agencies don’t see it that way, according to more than a dozen American officials who are familiar with their assessments and spoke on condition of anonymity.”
But as news site Disobedient Media reported Saturday, Ken Dilanian, who wrote the NBC News story with Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee, was “used” by the CIA “as an outlet for leaks.”
“Dilanian was outed by the Intercept in 2014 as a CIA asset. In the aftermath of the disclosure, Dlianian’s previous employers at the Tribune Washington and Los Angeles Times disavowed the disgraced journalist,” the outlet previously reported. “In at least one instance, the CIA’s instructions to Dilanian appears to have led to significant changes in a story that was eventually published in the Los Angeles Times.”
Since that time, Dilanian has pushed stories from former CIA officials that sought to perpetuate the “Trump-Russia collusion narrative without any regard to facts.”
With no credible source to support his reporting, Dilanian cited the opinion of a Clinton administration official and reports from 38north.org, which is run by the Henry L. Stimson Center, a think tank supported by defense contractors, such as Northrup Grumman and Boeing.
The 38north.org story relied on photographs that “appear to have been obtained from Airbus Defense and Space SAS, a subsidiary of European multinational conglomerate Airbus Group SE.”
“The involvement of a think tank in a website that is centered around undermining US confidence in North Korea is hardly a surprise given [its] connections to the military-industrial complex and internationalist special interest groups,” it wrote.
“Both Northrup Grumman and Boeing have seen their stock’s value drop in the aftermath of Trump’s Singapore meeting with Kim Jong Un in what analysts saw as a temporary setback to defense stocks. Seeing such corporations use their ties to institutions such as the Stimson Center to collaborate with the CIA in an effort to scuttle commitments to North Korean denuclearization and a peace accord between the two Koras and the United States represents a new low.”
There was no questioning of the motivations of the sources of information by Dilanian, whose aim is to undermine the US-North Korea negotiations to discredit Trump’s historic peace initiative.
He has absolute certainty from sources he won’t name.
“While the North Koreans have stopped missile and nuclear tests, ‘there is no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production,’” ” Dilanian wrote. There is “absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.”