Saturday, April 22, 2017
North Korean Failure
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
During a showdown with the United States, North Korea attempted to test launch a land-based ballistic missile from its eastern coast. But the missile exploded almost immediately after launch. The disastrous test launch has fueled media speculation that the failed attempt was the result of a clandestine, U.S. cyber-attack.
When asked if U.S. cyber-attack cause the explosion of the North Korean test launch, White House Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland told reporters, “We can’t talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations that might have happened.”
In an interview with the BBC, Former British Conservative Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said it was possible the missile either malfunctioned or was sabotaged by a US cyber-attack. "It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US - through cyber methods - has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail."
The origin of the U.S. sabotage speculation is based on a New York Times article from March 4, 2017. They reported that President Trump inherited an intelligence operation to conduct cyber and electronic attacks aimed at sabotaging North Korean missile launches from the previous administration.
Conspiracy theories aside, the most likely reason for the missile launch failure is the fact that the hermit nation of North Korea depends upon foreign imports to build its missiles. They can assemble missiles but lack the manufacturing capability to create sub-components to create a truly indigenous weapon system. The North Koreans are undoubtedly purchasing parts that are not subjected to the quality control scrutiny of more industrialized countries.
The launch platform involved the test of a solid fuel rocket. This is new technology and more difficult for North Korea’s engineers to master. The missile was a test bed for the country’s effort to develop its solid-fueled KN-11 submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The cyber-attack narrative may actually be a Psychological Operation (PSYOP) against North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un. Since the Cyber operations leaks are not coming from insiders to the main stream media, it may well be a PSYOP campaign. The hacking would create uncertainty for Kim, causing him to believe that his empire could be easily compromised by the West. He may come to believe that his inner circle is infested with spies; that they are sabotaging his efforts to become a nuclear power. In short, the Psy Ops campaign will make supreme leader Kim Jong Un more paranoid and more irrational than he is already known to be.