Why North Korea is a Black Hole for U.S. Intelligence

As tensions rise with Pyongyang, don’t expect answers from the CIA

The failure of North Korea’s latest missile test last weekend was good news for pretty much everybody outside that strange country. The new-model medium-range ballistic missile exploded shortly after lift-off, making it the latest embarrassing misstep in Pyongyang’s ceaseless quest to be taken seriously as a more-than-regional power.

The Trump White House isn’t concealing its gloating over the North Korean setback, with the president coyly refusing to comment on rumors of secret sabotage of the missile. On cue, Pyongyang has promised more missile tests, and nobody should expect that Donald Trump’s latest promise of unspecified retaliation against North Korea in the event of more games with ballistic missiles will have much of a deterrent effect.

This is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, after all, the weirdest country on earth—a deeply militarized Communist regime, almost hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world, and governed by a dynastic family in pre-1789 fashion. That the DPRK possesses nuclear weapons means there’s nothing to laugh about here, notwithstanding the fact that Pyongyang lacks the ability to accurately get those nukes anywhere very far from North Korea.

Then there’s the problem that nobody seems to understand what makes North Korea tick. Most Western “experts” on the regime have no idea what they’re talking about, as I’ve explained, and there’s a very good case that the DPRK actually may welcome confrontation with the United States—even nuclear confrontation. While Pyongyang’s bluster about preemptive nuclear strikes against friends of America (read: South Korea and Japan) sounds far-fetched, it’s best to side with caution and accept that the DPRK really might do exactly that.

Read the rest at The Observer …