National Security Brief: White House Sees ‘Disconnect Between Rhetoric & Action’ In North Korea

The White House said on Monday that despite all the tough talk coming from the regime in North Korea in recent days, the U.S. isn’t seeing much evidence of an imminent attack.

“We are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture such as large-scale mobilizations or positioning of forces,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “What that disconnect between rhetoric and action means, I’ll leave to the analysts to judge.”

And it’s very difficult to make accurate assessments about what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is up too. “We don’t have as much insight as we should, with regards to the inner workings of what happens in North Korea,” former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday, adding: “That’s the bottom line — we really don’t know what his motivation is and we really don’t know what his intentions are. … That’s the greatest concern of all.”

The regime in North Korea announced that it will escalate production of nuclear weapons material but at the same time, Kim Jong Un reportedly said in a speech on Tuesday that he believes North Korea’s nuclear weapons are meant to deter any perceived aggression. “Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty,” he told the central committee meeting of the ruling Workers Party of Korea.


Meanwhile, the U.S. is moving military assets to the region, including destroyers with capabilities of shooting down ballistic missiles.

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports: A hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has spread over the past two weeks, with the U.S. military saying the number of detainees participating in the protest has more than doubled and attorneys for the men insisting that the number is far higher.
  • The Guardian reports: British soldiers and airmen who helped to operate a secretive US detention facility in Baghdad that was at the centre of some of the most serious human rights abuses to occur in Iraq after the invasion have, for the first time, spoken about abuses they witnessed there.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to keep Iran’s nuclear program within limits demanded by Israel for now, according to senior U.S., European and Israeli officials, in a move they believe is designed to avert an international crisis during an Iranian election year.