Former NSC official: Some intel officials undermining U.S. summit strategy

by WorldTribune Staff, February 24, 2019

President Donald Trump is driving negotiations with North Korean’s leader Kim Jong-Un “in a positive direction” despite some in the U.S. intelligence community who have tried to “rain on the president’s parade,” a former National Security Council (NSC) official said.

The remarkable assertion by a longtime aide to U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was made of Feb. 10, two weeks before a weekend commentary by the North Korean state media criticizing ongoing Democrat Party criticism of Trump’s North Korean summitry.

Feb. 23 photo provided by the North Korean government shows Kim Jong-Un waving from a train before it leaves the Pyongyang Station for Vietnam.

“The purpose of the summit is to get these negotiations back on track to get the North Korean government to live up to the commitments they made in the Singapore summit and to get what special envoy Steve Biegun has said are concrete deliverables,” Fred Fleitz said in an interview with Fox News.

Fleitz recently left the NSC and was named president of the Center for Security Policy.

North Korea’s state media on Feb. 24 criticized U.S. Democrats and American intelligence officials for “chilling the atmosphere” ahead of the Trump-Kim summit scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In a letter to Trump last week, three Democratic chairmen of House committees accused the administration of withholding information on the negotiations with North Korea.

“There are ample reasons to be skeptical that Chairman Kim is committed to a nuclear-free North Korea,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are perplexed and troubled by the growing disconnect between the intelligence community’s assessment and your administration’s statements about Kim Jong-Un’s actions, commitments, and intentions,” said the letter from Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

Of Trump’s critics who frequently disparage his pronouncements and say the U.S. is giving more than it is getting from North Korea, Fleitz said:

“We’re not giving away the store. We haven’t given North Korea anything and that’s been a red line for (John) Bolton, President Trump and Secretary Pompeo that we’re not going to give concessions in exchange for nothing from the North Koreans. I had been in some meetings at the NSC, I have heard people say things and inter-agency meetings that they’re prepared to make concessions in exchange for almost nothing and it’s important for Bolton and Pompeo and the president to basically hold these folks back and make sure we do not offer something to North Korea in exchange for very little.”

“Now the president has a pretty good rapport with leader Kim and given that they’ve been dragging their feet to this point I think this is a good way to go,” said Fleitz.

KCNA issued a commentary arguing that if Trump listened to skeptics at home, he could face a “shattered dream” and “miss the rare historic opportunity” to improve relations with North Korea.

“The Democratic Party of the U.S. and other opponents to the negotiations move overtly and covertly to disrupt them as supported by skepticism backed by all sorts of groundless stories and misinformation even at such a crucial moment as now,” said the commentary.

KCNA also singled out U.S. intelligence officials who recently testified to Congress that North Korea was unlikely to ever give up its entire nuclear arsenal.

“It is absolutely as foolhardy as expecting to see a chicken turning into a phoenix to expect proper comment from the U.S. intelligence agencies as they have it as their basic mission to claim white to be black and lie to be truth,” the commentary said.

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