Bill Evanina is the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) - a part of the U.S. Intelligence Community that leads and supports the government’s counterintelligence and security efforts.    The NCSC tackles that mission in a number of ways, but a large part of their task is ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is touting his recent trip to Pyongyang as a success, saying that he was able to make ‘real progress’ toward denuclearization, and that a second summit between North Korean President Kim Jung Un and President Donald Trump, will be announced soon. Cipher Brief Expert and ...

While much of the focus on North Korea has been on efforts by the U.S. to negotiate a denuclearization deal, the cyber threat posed by Pyongyang remains a real threat, just out of view of the headlines. Bottom Line: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) foreign doctrine in cyberspace is ...

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korea's foreign minister on Wednesday and says he will visit Pyongyang next month to pave the way for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un. The announcement follows a bilateral agreement signed by President ...

In part two of The Cipher Brief's Expert Briefing on North Korea, Ambassador Joseph DeTrani focuses on the critical relationships with allies and partners and how sometimes competing agendas need to come together in order to realize full North Korean denuclearization. Ambassador DeTrani is former Director of the National Counter ...

Experts cited the lack of intercontinental ballistic missiles in North Korea’s 70th anniversary parade celebrations over the weekend as a sign that the nuclear nation remains committed to denuclearization talks with the U.S. But in the weeks before the anniversary celebration, President Donald Trump cancelled a high-level meeting meant to ...

Cipher Brief Update:  On August 23, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a Special Representative for North Korea.  Steve Biegun will "direct all U.S. policy on North Korea, lead negotiations, and spearhead our diplomatic efforts with our allies and partners," according to the State Department. Progress in nuclear dismantlement following ...

The world’s malicious cyber actors -- Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – have spoiled cyber’s original, idealistic vision and instead use cyberspace to advance competitive interests to undermine Western laws and norms and pursue a clandestine means (cyber theft) to catch up with the West in technology, political influence, ...

We know from twenty-five years of negotiations that patience and persistence are required if we hope to resolve nuclear and other issues with North Korea.  We also know that North Korea wants a normal relationship with the U.S., ideally they’d like to retain nuclear weapons and  have access to international ...

OPINION -- President Trump’s repeated message that Russia’s possession of nuclear weapons requires him to have better relations with Vladimir Putin, should encourage China to sharply increase the size of its strategic nuclear forces. That’s the message in an article entitled, “China can learn from Trump’s Russia stance,” carried in ...

OPINION -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried Sunday to use current U.S. relations with an old wartime enemy, the Communist government in Vietnam, as a prod for Kim Jong-un to move forward on the June 12 Singapore Agreement that is supposed to lead to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is resetting expectations for a denuclearization timeline for North Korea, saying Monday that it will take 'decades' to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.  In a Tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his confidence in the North Korean leader, saying that he ...

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to North Korea seeking signs of progress after the recent Singapore summit,  some of his colleagues in the U.S. Intelligence community are doubting whether actions will meet up to words when it comes to North Korea's promise to denuclearize.  Ambassador Joe DeTrani has ...

Journalists need to find a way to pin down President Trump, and his June 10 press conference in Singapore provided a clear example of one way to do it. The subject was whether Trump had brought up human rights in his meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. When first asked about ...

Much initial reaction to the North Korean - American Singapore Summit has been negative, with critics targeting the concessions made by President Trump including; a dramatic, public endorsement of Kim Jong-un’s status and a halt to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises in exchange for North Korea’s commitment to “nuclear disarmament”, ...

The historic June 12th summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jung Un has moved us closer to a peaceful resolution of issues with North Korea.  Compared to where we were eight months ago, when the possibility of stumbling into kinetic conflict on the Korean Peninsula was ...

  China, North Korea and the U.S.-South Korea security alliance are the big winners from the short, joint declaration out of Singapore this week.  The United States made important symbolic (and reversible) concessions, but at this point, has not advanced the core objective of a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula any more ...

OPINION: The eyes of an intelligence officer are trained to look for what a person’s behavior uncovers about his or her motivations and aspirations, which can then help predict future behavior. Watching the president’s recent actions regarding North Korea—his desperation to meet in person with Kim Jong Un, his fulsome ...

Shortly after he was sworn in as Director CIA in January of 2017, now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made some bold moves that put renewed focus on the North Korea threat. First, he oversaw the establishment of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, meant to better bring together the resources available ...

During the height of the Cold War, North Korean defectors were celebrated as symbols of freedom and a direct indictment of a brutal North Korean regime. Yet over time, the meaning endowed upon North Korean defectors steadily changed. They became living monuments to the complex facets of the frozen conflict: ...

The June 12th summit with North Korea will be an important beginning of a process that eventually results in the Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement (CVID) of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons facilities. This is the goal, but there’s justified skepticism that this objective can be achieved, especially ...

As the U.S. President prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, sources tell The Cipher Brief that U.S. Special Operations Forces have been preparing for potential action against the North Korean regime for more than a year. This, as the Pentagon recently completed a sweeping review ...

The Trump administration has yet to make public its objectives for a North Korea denuclearization agreement, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated what it should contain during questioning by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) last Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We are looking for the complete dismantlement of ...

A revised and improved “Cuba model” for denuclearizing North Korea might have gotten a more receptive ear from Pyongyang than US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s dead-on-arrival “Libya model.” Yesterday, President Trump called off his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The reason, according to a White House statement, was ...

President Donald Trump has informed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he will not be attending the summit between the two leaders set to take place in Singapore on June 12, following a series of aggressive statements made by both parties. It is not yet clear whether the cancellation ...

After North Korea threatened to withdraw from the upcoming face-to-face summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, some media outlets reported that Trump was becoming concerned about the political risks if the talks were to fall through—and considering not going ahead with them. Many experts believe North Korea’s ...

North Korea has threatened to pull out of planned talks between leaders Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, citing opposition to U.S. demands for unilateral denuclearization and comments made by national security advisor John Bolton that referenced the “Libyan model” for denuclearization. President Trump has clarified that the U.S. ...

Months of fruitful engagement between North Korea, South Korea and the United States may soon turn sour. Yesterday, Pyongyang warned that ongoing joint military exercises and aggressive statements made by the Trump administration were damaging the diplomatic atmosphere. The regime canceled upcoming talks scheduled with South Korea, and threatened to ...

As they strolled on the beach at Dalian earlier this week, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un had a lot to discuss. China’s idea of the perfect Korean settlement is simple: North Korea should denuclearise completely in return for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the peninsula. In one stroke, ...

The Panmunjom Declaration gives us hope that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is possible.  The Summit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in with North Korea’s Kim Jung-un was heavy on atmospherics and compelling with a detailed Declaration that a few months ago would have been viewed as wishful thinking.  Yes, ...

Within moments of greeting President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in mid-April, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe clinched a key strategic objective for their meeting: a photo op. During the discussions, which were thorough albeit along familiar lines, Abe achieved another key goal for the meeting: the president promised to raise ...

Getting North Korea to agree to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons facilities will be a difficult task for President Donald Trump. However, the progress made during the past four months with North Korea should give us hope that it can be accomplished. ...

There’s a dark purpose in Kim Jong Un’s proffered moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing announced over the weekend. Kim, with the apparent complicity of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, seeks to eventually merge his state into the South  – and drive out U.S. troops from the peninsula. Most ...

On Saturday, North Korea announced it was suspending nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing, ahead of this week’s summit with South Korea and ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June. Cipher Brief expert Amb. Joseph DeTrani, former envoy to the Six Party Talks, gave his ...

Bottom Line: While much attention is rightfully given to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal, the country’s naval and merchant fleets are the ones that have traditionally extended the reach of Pyongyang to bypass sanctions through illicit trade on the high seas while also ...

Cipher Brief experts debated the risk versus blowback of striking North Korea before it has a chance to strike the continental United States, at The Cipher Brief’s 2018 annual Threat Conference, in Sea Island, Ga. Admiral (ret.) James “Sandy” Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during ...

"What South Koreans want is an unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South, an unwelcome guest that poses a threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.” -14 March 2018, Rodong Sinmun, North Korea Newspaper After decades of effort, North Korea is close to being able to credibly ...

Public reactions to prospects for a breakthrough at a Trump-Kim summit are proving a triumph of hope over experience. North Korea has been feeling the heat from the Trump administration’s effective “maximum pressure” campaign, and has every incentive to gut its momentum, or reverse it. In response, Kim Jong Un ...

President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un and the other players, China and North Korea, are preparing. The question is: How should Trump prepare for the meeting? Experts find a number of reasons to be skeptical about this abrupt announcement, especially the lack of lower-level preparation ...

Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Cipher Brief expert and former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with North Korea, shared his thoughts on the surprise trip by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit the Chinese premier, adapted for print below. The March 26-27 visit of North Korean leader Kim ...

During two years of intense negotiations with North Korea, from August 2003 to September 2005, North Korea’s constant refrain to U.S. negotiators was, ‘Accept us as a nuclear weapons state and we’ll be a good friend of the U.S.’ They were told that the U.S. would never accept North Korea ...

Bottom Line: Behind the curtain of violent conflict often resides a potentially devastating, long-term issue that demands global attention: food insecurity as both a weapon and consequence of war. Militant groups recruit the hungry with promises of the next meal, and states such as North Korea and Syria control food ...

The key to understanding the remarkable developments over North Korea in recent weeks is that the two Koreas have been working jointly to manage the perceived risks from the United States and China. This cooperation has been managed on intelligence channels often employing relationships forged during the Sunshine Policy over ...

On Thursday, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong announced that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the meeting will take place “by May” at a time and place to be determined. This development could be referred to as a ...

North Korea’s weekend offer of peace talks over dinner with the first South Korean delegation there in more than a decade seems to be a sincere attempt to open dialogue. It follows other moves like sending his sister Kim Yo-jong to the Olympics and issuing a summit invitation to South ...

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, but the games may have opened the door for dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Following a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean representatives, the South Korean government announced that North Korea was willing to have talks ...

Bottom Line: While the Trump administration has recently pressured South Korea on trade practices, the two nations remain united on pushing North Korea toward denuclearization, despite Pyongyang’s attempts to drive a wedge between the two. It is unlikely that their financial disagreements will disrupt that united front, but the money ...

Bottom Line: While North Korea has put on a friendly face during the Olympic Games taking place along its southern border, the country’s hackers continue to engage in global cybercrime campaigns that seek to fill the coffers of the ruling regime in the background – with the latest hacking campaign ...

North Korea’s Olympic delegation has left Pyeongchang, and stuck South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a decision: whether to accept an invitation to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It would be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North Korean capital city since ...

The signs emerging from Washington confirm that the military option is still very much on the table. There is now a breathing space while the Winter Olympics play out at Pyeongchang in South Korea followed by the Paralympics which conclude on 18th March. Shortly thereafter, the annual joint military exercises ...