When it Comes to Overthrowing Governments, What Does the Law Allow?

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Regime change has recently come up in media reports about North Korea on a frequent basis, but what does the term mean from a legal standpoint for U.S. intelligence?

In a July interview with New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said “the most important thing the United States can do is separate the nuclear weapons capability from someone who might well have intent, and break those two apart,” as signaling a desire for or hinting at plans for regime change. Press reports followed suggesting that Pompeo was considering a regime change option for Pyongyang.

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