CIA Accused In NK Embassy Assault

President George W Bush visits CIA Headquarters, March 20, 2001.

On February 22, a group of ten people broke into the North Korean embassy in Madrid. They bound, assaulted and interrogated eight people inside, stole computer equipment, and left. This was reported on the 27th by a Spanish newspaper, The Confidential.

The timing of the attack was particularly noteworthy because it occurred shortly before the second Trump / Kim summit. Spanish investigators immediately began their work on the case.

On March 13, the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais released a bombshell allegation:

Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

El Pais

The Washington Post reported on the subject afterward, laying the blame specifically at the feet of a dissident anti-Kim group, Cheollima Civil Defense.

The Post reporters state that the CIA declined to comment but that their experts, including some former CIA workers, found any such covert U.S. activity implausible in this instance.

Any hint of U.S. involvement in an assault on a diplomatic compound could have derailed the talks, a prospect of which the CIA would likely be mindful. “Infiltrating a North Korean embassy days before the nuclear summit would throw that all into jeopardy,” said Sue Mi Terry, a former Korea analyst at the CIA. “This is not something the CIA would undertake.”

Washington Post

The Washington Examiner jumped in, using the Post story as a rationale to accuse El Pais of creating the story under the direction of Putin:

Consider that El Pais is reporting the CIA’s involvement without offering any substantive evidence. That’s a tell because El Pais is a nominally anti-American newspaper, and the Russians love using anti-American interests to push forwards their agenda, newspapers included.

In the days since the Post story, other Spanish media have reported that their own government sources believe two of the ten have connections to the CIA. Russian news agencies, conspiracy websites and hard left sites alike have run stories suggesting or directly stating that the embassy attack was a CIA operation.

This story is developing in the same way that many of the weekend conspiracy columns has developed. It is different in one key way: it is very plausible that the journalistic assertions are true, even if the speculation websites and some newspapers like the Examiner are completely wrong in their opinions and analyses.

The Washington Post bases its story on experienced CIA operatives. CIA experts agree it would be an idiotically risky move, and for that reason they claim the CIA would not have done it. At issue is the fact that the CIA under prior Presidents may not be directed in the same way under President Trump. Trump, with his appreciation for authoritarian actions and focus on perceptions of strength as a key to foreign policy, may have thought an action against a NK embassy in an allied nation was a good move, in the same way that Putin thought that poisoning Litvinenko with Polonium in the UK was a good move.

Meanwhile, El Pais and other historically ethical Spanish journalism venues have not claimed the CIA directed the operation nor even that the two people involved were agents. They simply claimed that their sources suggest the names are known and have connections… which is exactly what the case would be if, say, the CIA had flipped a couple of the members of Cheollima Civil Defense in an effort to keep tabs on the group.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.