Obama Used Cyberattacks To Sabotage North Korean Launches For Years

Tyler Durden's picture

Long before Kim Jong-Un launched his latest ballistic missile test in February, prompting an angry response from not only the US, Japan and various other countries, most notably China, which banned North Korean coal imports in retaliation and unleashed what may be a political crisis in Pyongyang, former president Barack Obama was already engaged in a cyberwar with North Korea.

According to the NYT, three years ago Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber-strikes against North Korea’s missile program in order to sabotage missile test launches in their opening seconds. That explains why shortly after various North Korean launches, a large number of the country's military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea, as detailed here on various occasions.

While advocates of such efforts believe that targeted attacks have given American antimissile defenses a new edge and delayed by several years the day when North Korea will be able to threaten American cities with nuclear weapons launched atop intercontinental ballistic missiles, other experts have grown increasingly skeptical of the new approach, arguing that manufacturing errors, disgruntled insiders and sheer incompetence can also send missiles awry. In other words, something is causing the crashes, but US cyberspies is just one of the possible factors.

Making matters more complex, over the past eight months, they note, the North has managed to successfully launch three medium-range rockets. And Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, now claims his country is in “the final stage in preparations” for the inaugural test of his intercontinental missiles — perhaps a bluff, perhaps not, according to the NYT.

According to the NYT, which cites an examination of the Pentagon’s disruption effort, based on interviews with officials of the Obama and Trump administrations the United States still does not have the ability to effectively counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programs. Those threats are far more resilient than many experts thought, The New York Times’s reporting found, "and pose such a danger that Mr. Obama, as he left office, warned President Trump that they would likely be the most urgent problem he would confront."

As part of its inquiry, the NYT notes that it had agreed to keep silent to avoid leakage of US involvement:

The Times inquiry began last spring as the number of the North’s missile failures soared. The investigation uncovered the military documents praising the new antimissile approach and found some pointing with photos and diagrams to North Korea as one of the most urgent targets.


After discussions with the office of the director of national intelligence last year and in recent days with Mr. Trump’s national security team, The Times agreed to withhold details of those efforts to keep North Korea from learning how to defeat them. Last fall, Mr. Kim was widely reported to have ordered an investigation into whether the United States was sabotaging North Korea’s launches, and over the past week he has executed senior security officials.

If the US sabotage of North Korea's missile program sounds familiar to the joint-US/Israeli "Stuxnet" takedown of Iran's nuclear program several years ago, is because it is:

The approach taken in targeting the North Korean missiles has distinct echoes of the American- and Israeli-led sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program, the most sophisticated known use of a cyberweapon meant to cripple a nuclear threat. But even that use of the “Stuxnet” worm in Iran quickly ran into limits. It was effective for several years, until the Iranians figured it out and recovered. And Iran posed a relatively easy target: an underground nuclear enrichment plant that could be attacked repeatedly.

Obama's escalating response was due to rising concerns that Washington was behind the curve in stopping North Korean technological development:

By the time Mr. Obama took office in January 2009, the North had deployed hundreds of short- and medium-range missiles that used Russian designs, and had made billions of dollars selling its Scud missiles to Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. But it aspired to a new generation of missiles that could fire warheads over much longer distances. In secret cables written in the first year of the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out the emerging threat.


Among the most alarming released by WikiLeaks, the cables described a new path the North was taking to reach its long-range goal, based on a missile designed by the Soviets decades ago for their submarines that carried thermonuclear warheads. It was called the R-27. Unlike the North’s lumbering, older rockets and missiles, these would be small enough to hide in caves and move into position by truck. The advantage was clear: This missile would be far harder for the United States to find and destroy.


“North Korea’s next goal may be to develop a mobile ICBM that would be capable of threatening targets around the world,” said an October 2009 cable marked “Secret” and signed by Mrs. Clinton.

Despite their early success, with sabotage efforts failing in recent months, and with the story now public, it appears that the NYT's intel community leakers are hoping to push the story into the open, and to prompt North Korea to escalate its ballistic missile development.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un has pressed ahead on his main goal: an intercontinental ballistic missile. Last April, he was photographed standing next to a giant test-stand, celebrating after engineers successfully fired off a matched pair of the potent Russian-designed R-27 engines. The implication was clear: Strapping two of the engines together at the base of a missile was the secret to building an ICBM that could ultimately hurl warheads at the United States.

In September, he celebrated the most successful test yet of a North Korean nuclear weapon — one that exploded with more than twice the destructive force of the Hiroshima bomb. His next goal, experts say, is to combine those two technologies, shrinking his nuclear warheads to a size that can fit on an intercontinental missile. Only then can he credibly claim that his isolated country has the know-how to hit an American city thousands of miles away.

In the last year of his presidency, Mr. Obama often noted publicly that the North was learning from every nuclear and missile test — even the failures — and getting closer to its goal. In private, aides noticed he was increasingly disturbed by North Korea’s progress.

Now it's up to Trump to decide what to do about North Korea's missile program; also since the US "cyberwar" against Kim is now in the public domain, continuing it does not seem like a logical option, despite what the NYT suggests.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump complained that “we're so obsolete in cyber,” a line that grated on officials at the United States Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, where billions of dollars have been spent to provide the president with new options for intelligence gathering and cyberattacks. Now, one of the immediate questions he faces is whether to accelerate or scale back those efforts. A decision to go after an adversary’s launch ability can have unintended consequences, experts warn.


Once the United States uses cyberweapons against nuclear launch systems — even in a threatening state like North Korea — Russia and China may feel free to do the same, targeting fields of American missiles. Some strategists argue that all nuclear systems should be off-limits for cyberattack. Otherwise, if a nuclear power thought it could secretly disable an adversary’s atomic controls, it might be more tempted to take the risk of launching a pre-emptive attack.

Considering the relentless (dis)information about Russian hacking of everything American, all it would take for an all too real, not cyber, war breaking out is for a false flag attack in some US nuclear silo which is then quickly blamed on Russia courtesy of all the prevalent anti-Russian sentiment. Needless to say, the neo-cons would certainly win in such a scenario.

That said, escalation may be avoided: Trump’s aides say everything is on the table. China recently cut off coal imports from the North, but the United States is also looking at ways to freeze the Kim family’s assets, some of which are believed held in Chinese-controlled banks. The Chinese have already opposed the deployment of a high-altitude missile defense system known as Thaad in South Korea; the Trump team may call for even more such systems.

However, as we reported last week, a far worse outcome is also likely. As the WSJ reported previously, the White House is also looking at pre-emptive military strike options, though the challenge is huge given the country’s mountainous terrain and deeply buried tunnels and bunkers. Placing American tactical nuclear weapons back into South Korea — they were withdrawn a quarter-century ago — is also under consideration, even if that step could accelerate an arms race with the North.

Mr. Trump’s “It won’t happen!” post on Twitter about the North’s ICBM threat suggests a larger confrontation could be looming. “Regardless of Trump’s actual intentions,” James M. Acton, a nuclear analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently noted, “the tweet could come to be seen as a ‘red line’ and hence set up a potential test of his credibility.”

One thing we do know: the last time global debt reached similar levels, world war broke out. This time may not be different; all that is needed is a spark.

Now the question is whether Kim Jong-Un, already facing a potential mutiny at home (to which he has so far responded by demonstratively executing official with anti-aircraft guns) will take this confirmation of what many would call an act of war by the US, and retaliate.

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cossack55's picture

Trump is having the Russians help the NKs to lower RE prices in Japan   


Looney's picture


That’s the beauty of anti-aircraft guns – you can’t fuck’em up from a laptop in Fort Meade.  ;-)


BaBaBouy's picture

Omaba May Be Fecked Re TRUMP Wiretaps ???????

Can PC MSM Holder This Story Back???


Got The Wrong No's picture

You do realize that he believes that what he and the rest of the Left Wing Crime Cartel do is exempt of the laws and the Standards the rest of us are held accountable to?

FireBrander's picture

ALL Obama stories are POSTITIVE.


ALL Trump stories are NEGATIVE.


Don't trust ANYTHING reported in the NY Times UNLESS they offer up REAL proof...not just "sources say".

FireBrander's picture

I'm still waiting for the Sessions/Russian audio THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS!

Why not release the audio and prove Sessions conspired with the Russians?

NOT ONE BIT OF REAL EVIDENCE...just ACCUSATIONS...sorry, not enough for me...and I'm one of the LEO's that put Trump in the WH...Dems, you wanna win, you gotta win me over...so far, you're just driving me further to the Right....bad move...

Never One Roach's picture

The Failing New York Times and Fake News CNN are as crooked as they get. I agree--- do not beleive ANYTHING they say unless it's confirmed by a credible source like Akex Jones, Paul Watson, Breitbart, and most of the time Fox.

BigJim's picture

 One thing we do know: the last time global debt reached similar levels, world war broke out.

Er, actually Tyler, if you look at that graph, both world wars (commencing 1914 & 1939) broke out when debt levels had dropped significantly off their peaks.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

I almost stopped reading the article when I hit the beginning of the second paragraphs ("According to the NYT...").

Instead, I resumed reading, not to find out anything about North Korea's nuclear capabilities, but to check which way the propaganda winds are blowing.

land_of_the_few's picture

It's like "women say..." or "anglers say..."  :D

kw2012's picture

they attacked some, then they built very advance ones in secret site nit covered by Obama nuclear deal 


QuantumEasing's picture

Since Newks are fake, who cares?

MsCreant's picture

I approve of something Obama did. Wow.

PT's picture

So why did they stop now and tell the world?  "Hey Trump!  Fix this!"

MsCreant's picture

I agree it is hinkey that we are hearing about it now. I just assumed it was more "trying to save Obama's image" stuff. 

flaminratzazz's picture

I would think the credit should go the the Star Wars of Reagan.. (that of course don't work after billions of dollars)

nevertheless's picture

You and every other Zionist piece of shit. 


How many countries has North Korea invaded????


Either no moral compass or ignorant as a head of cabbage. 

MsCreant's picture

Why keep threatening, on a regular basis, to nuke folks? 

I "approved" because at least they weren't droning and bombing shit to get the job done. 

We are fucked up and wrong, I will give you that. But they are too. I'd rather their tests were not successful. I'd rather we did not have nukes at all. I can't have what I would "rather." 

I have no idea why you think Zionism is involved in this.

If I am "ignorant" educate me. 

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) MsCreant Mar 4, 2017 11:49 AM

As long as the norks are just nuking the gay whales, I'm good with it.

HowdyDoody's picture

i) How many countries have actually nuked other countries? ii) How many of those countries have a nuke first strike as part of their military strategy?

i) 1
ii) 1

Bonus answer: The US.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

In fairness, North Korea has threatened a nuclear first strike on the US since at least last summer, but just hasn't had the tech to pull it off.
It has also threatened a first strike on South Korea for at least that long, and many think it has that capablity.

ShrNfr's picture

Can we now send him on a vacation to Malaysia?

Jim in MN's picture

But....how is sabotaging their lunches supposed to help?

I thought they were starving already.


Oh.   Wait.  


Never mind.


--Rosanne Rosanadana

Stinkbug 1's picture

Obama the cyber idiot.

We can all thank Obama for the Fuckishima reactor disaster because his pet Stuxnet virus got loose into the world and prevented all the safety measures from working. 

Stupid idiots shouldn't play around with things that can destroy life here for all of us. But here we are ... and there he is ... smug corporate puppet 'Knucklehead Smith' Obama with his 60 mil book deal. 

nevertheless's picture

I guess when you deserved to be nuked, you better watch who at who has them. 

Outside of Israel, we (sadly I don't mean "we", Americans are just along for the ride of this MIC/Zionist world domination BS) are a close second, as to who causes the greatest evil on Earth. 

chindit13's picture

Of greater concern than NK nukes is NK bioterror. Their little event in KL demonstrated extremely sophisticated knowledge of chemical interactions.

Note all of those horrific TV commercials where the viewer is told to 'Ask your doctor if XYZ isn't right for you', along with the caveat, "Don't take XYZ is you are already taking ABC, DEF, etc."

Yes, the NK biochemists are THAT sophisticated. That's why they used female assassins.

flaminratzazz's picture

Back to the basement with duct tape and plastic..thanks alot

Offthebeach's picture

Nerve agents are gussied up insecticide.

HowdyDoody's picture

The US has established a ring of under-supervised bio-weapons research labs (Class IV pathogens in Class III labs) around Russia. There are two in Ukraine alone - one near Kiev and one in Odessa. It looks like an 'accidental' release of a pathogen is part of the plan.

kenzo7's picture

they have computers in N.Korea???

rehypothecator's picture

Yes. They even have an internet, including something like a couple dozen websites.  All of which extensively mine data from those who visit.  

Atomizer's picture

North Korea is not apart of the Central Banking cartel. I would ignore the media bullshit, flush it. 

The same with Iran thrashing about to kill us. Again, not apart of Central Banking institution. 

I could go on, you look it up. 

jm's picture

There are more evil things in the world than overly loose monetary policy.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) jm Mar 4, 2017 11:53 AM

Not really.  What slavemaster holds "monetary policy" over your head in the first place?  Do you think you need a slavemaster to control you and your money?

jm's picture

Manipulated money supply and interest rates that screw over granny are not in the same league as a regime that kills anyone who dares be discontented willfully starves its entire population just to keep them in line. At least granny can choose to take some risk and avert being screwed.

Of course, the ZH idiot squad can't see the difference. Because one they are consumed by resentment and two because they have been waiting for the End for years now. It's all like North Korea when you are a total loser.

For them: think about the possibility of a trump victory in a such a regime. In the US it happened despite huge opposition from vested interests,

nevertheless's picture

"Manipulated money supply and interest rates that screw over granny" are you out of your fucking mind?!


The money traders cause suffering on a scale far far greater than piss ant North Korea.


You little NPR bitch, your fake news does not fly here. I am sure for all the trouble of N.Korea, they are far better off than those in Iraq, Libya, Syria...


The money changers destroyed more than just granny, but then again, Granny is pretty fucking important too... 

jm's picture

Remember that granny has a choice to not be screwed. The fed created a massive move in asset values for people not as stupid as yourself. In fact, the fed averted massive unemployment for most and funded government spending for unemployment checks for people such as yourself.

Go to North Korea. Even a total loser like you would be able to see that there is something more evil in the world than interest rate policy you neither like nor understand.

HowdyDoody's picture

Seth Rich? Kennedy? Not to mention the tens of thousands of South Americans, along with some US citizens as collateral damage, killed by US-trained death squads simply because they disagreed with total subservience to US corporate interests.

NK is under total US economic sanction. That is the reason the population is under-fed. The NKs came to a deal with the US to cease work on nukes in exchange for oil supplies. The US reneged on the deal (wow, there's a surprise) and the NKs resumed their nuke weapons program.

jm's picture

North Korea is starving to death because of central planing. It never works whether authored by a totalitarian pedophile called mao or Kim Jong il or Pol Pot. Kim Jong un is a cut rate hack that like Asysad that inherited custody of a state showing depraved indifference to human life.

Sanctions are in place because this guy is bent a having a nuke. The US has bent over backwards for this twisted freak and reneged on nothing. I think it is hilarious how countries with similar regard for human life have enabled the depravity.

The real question is how to play the transition when North Korea finally implodes. Been thinking about this a lot lately.

nevertheless's picture

In a world run by money changers, the idea that monetary policy is inconsequential and not as it is, an integral part of why we go to war, and why people around the world starve, is absolutely asinine. 


The greatest evil in the world is Jewish Zionism, and without the money from the Central Banking MOB they would be brushed away as the treasonous warmongering racists they truly are. 

nevertheless's picture

It is always telling, the first thing the filth that destroyed Libya and Iraq did was install Central Banks, the same thing they did in Japan and Germany at the end of WW2. 


The US military/CIA is just an arm of the Zionist globalist macine, Trump is helping to build up their forces for the upcoming confrontation with the East, while America itself withers on the vine. 

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Does any of this matter if Seoul gets hit with 100 Scuds and 1,000 heavy artillery shells within about 60 seconds?

Winston Churchill's picture

A million NK troops spilling over the border works too.

Somebody is trying to piss off little kim and dump the mess on Trump.

The deep state is taking the gloves off.

Francis Marx's picture

That explains why every time the russians were launching a importent satellite for intelligence, GPS or military, it would go wrong. Funny but all the launches taking Americans to the ISS never failed. I guess I was right like many who believed the americans were behind the fails.

A. Boaty's picture

The North Koreans want our women! If we don't keep them in check, our children will end up speaking North Korean!

flaminratzazz's picture

The American women? ahahah better get out some docked oil tankers to haul the land whales in..maybe fit a dozen to a tanker..

They would tip over their island and cause an electricity shortage from charging their scooters.

MsCreant's picture

Americans period, N. Koreans could eat them. Though I just found one study that claims there are more obese men in developed countries and more obese women in undeveloped countries.