Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH: DON'T BLAME ME....The Washington Times, based on leaked information about some recent intelligence reports, says the intelligence community badly screwed up its assessment of North Korea:

The officials said there were as many as 10 failures related to intelligence reporting on North Korean missile tests and the suspected nuclear test that harmed administration efforts to deal with the issue.

According to officials familiar with the reports, the failures included judgments that cast doubt about whether North Korea's nuclear program posed an immediate threat, whether North Korea could produce a militarily useful nuclear bomb, whether North Korea was capable of conducting an underground nuclear test and whether Pyongyang was bluffing by claiming it could carry one out.

This is via Instapundit, who seems oddly unconcerned with this particular pre-election leak of our nation's secrets. (Compare to "we should fire the leakers on general principles" from a couple of weeks ago when someone leaked intelligence info to the New York Times that was damaging to the administration. I guess pro-Bush leaks are different.)

Snark aside, though, here's the really odd thing: what failures are we talking about? There's no way to know without seeing the reports in question, but it strikes me that (a) it's not clear if North Korea's nuclear program poses an immediate threat, (b) North Korea's weapon did appear to be something of a dud, (c) they don't seem very good at this underground testing thing, and (d) they might very well have been bluffing. What's more, given how hermetically sealed North Korea is, I assume the NIE was practically bursting with caveats that no one really knows for sure what they're up to.

All in all, a pretty transparent effort at buck passing. I don't have any special brief for the intelligence community, which has made its share of mistakes in the past, but the fact is that Bush has spent more than four years waving his arms manically but doing absolutely nothing of any substance about the North Korean threat. Now he's trying to blame his lack of policy on the intelligence community? Pathetic.

POSTSCRIPT: As an added bonus, note the attempt to specifically blame the "failures" on Thomas Fingar, formerly of the State Department's intelligence service, and the one guy who had the gall to get it right on Iraq. I guess this is payback for arguing with Dick Cheney three years ago.

Kevin Drum 12:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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Sheesh, Kev...links to the Washington Times and Instapundit in one post...I'm gonna have to disinfect my keyboard...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 12, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

We all know that it is Clinton's fault. Duh.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Times has been leaked information about recent intelligence reports and says the intelligence community badly screwed up its assessment of North Korea:

I'm not surprised at all. As independent maverick Republican John McCain pointed out, the only reason North Korea has nukes on its hands is because of Bill Clinton.

"I would remind Senator Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush administration policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure"

"Every single time the Clinton administration warned the Koreans not to do something -- not to kick out the IAEA inspectors, not to remove the fuel rods from their reactor -- they did it. And they were rewarded every single time by the Clinton administration with further talks."

If Bill Clinton hadn't given North Korea everything it wanted and got nothing in return, we wouldn't have this problem. Any and all problems we're having with North Korea is Bill Clinton's fault.
By the way, just want to thank Jacob Hacker for addressing my comments instead of insulting me as the liberals usually do.

Posted by: Al on October 12, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

The NIE report was probably mostly right, as you pointed out. However, after the intelligence community so badly misled Bush on Iraq, he's probably extra critical of their mistakes. If he has a flaw, it's that he's too much of a perfectionist.

Posted by: American Hawk on October 12, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hey American Hawk, have you been drinking out of your bedpan again? The intelligence community didn't mislead Bush, he cherrypicked the "evidence" for his vanity war.

Posted by: repug on October 12, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

However, after the intelligence community so badly misled Bush on Iraq, he's probably extra critical of their mistakes.

Good point AH. Unfortunately, liberals have politicized the CIA so it's impossible to trust them anymore. This was reported by Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Link

"There has been much public and private speculation about the politicization of the Agency. I am convinced that this politicization was underway well before Porter Goss became the Director. In fact, I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the agency intentionally undermined the administration and its policies."

Posted by: Al on October 12, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, if only McCain could be heard on TV!

After Blaming Clinton For North Korea Nuke, McCain Blasts People Engaging In Finger-Pointing

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) explicitly blamed the Clinton administration for North Koreas nuclear weapons test on Sunday: [I]t is a failure of the Clinton administration policiesthat have caused us to be in the situation were in today.

This morning on NBC, Straight Talk McCain had a different tune: I think this is the wrong time for us to be engaging in finger pointing when in this crucial time, we need the world and Americans united.

Watch the clips back to back:
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/10/11/mccain-nk/

For the record, here is a timeline of North Koreas nuclear weapons development. A cheat sheet:

Bush I: 1-2 bombs worth of plutonium
Clinton: Zero plutonium
Bush II: 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium and counting, first nuclear test

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody could have predicted that the sun would come up in the East.

Posted by: craigie on October 12, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

As Al and I constantly wonder -- how is it that the Republicans control all three branches of goverment, the corporations, and media, but still Clinton continues to make us unsafe!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

All in all, a pretty transparent effort at buck passing.

Those of us who got our arms blown off in Iraq only wish we could pass the buck like these guys do.

American Hawk, I know you wish you could have taken my place in Iraq. That's brave of you. But all I ask now is a small favor: would you pick my nose for me?

Posted by: Johnny on October 12, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

The trolls are making this web site almost unreadable.

Posted by: Alf on October 12, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

If Bill Clinton hadn't given North Korea everything it wanted and got nothing in return, we wouldn't have this problem. Any and all problems we're having with North Korea is Bill Clinton's fault.
By the way, just want to thank Jacob Hacker for addressing my comments instead of insulting me as the liberals usually do.

Well, maybe if you'd argue with facts instead of made up shit like the above comment you wouldn't have so many people insulting you. Slob.

Posted by: tomeck on October 12, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Unreadable? That's probably what they're trying to do.

Posted by: tomeck on October 12, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The trolls are making this web site almost unreadable.

Yes, the noxious mix of trolls, fake trolls and fake fake trolls is getting tiresome. Especially when they start talking to eachother. I just want Tbroz to come back.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 12, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Now, now, tomeck. If you don't methodically and politely reply to every Rush talking point Al so lovingly and honestly posts, you are just a big ole meany!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I just want Tbroz to come back.

I'd like to see tbrosz, Al and Hawk in a cage death match. The only weapon would be complete distortions of the truth.

It would be bloody!

Posted by: craigie on October 12, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bush I: 1-2 bombs worth of plutonium
Clinton: Zero plutonium
Bush II: 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium and counting, first nuclear test

We've all seen this gag. Now go back and try it again using enriched uranium.

Posted by: fairway on October 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see tbrosz, Al and Hawk in a cage death match.

That would probably look more like a game of Hungry Hippo, where they gobble up talking points and excrete "nuggets" of wisdom. Actually, that's kind of the way it is now.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Right, fairway, just like when Powell said that the Bush admin would continue Clinton's policy, and then Bush kneecapped him, saying they wouldn't.

That is why everything that happens now is Clinton's fault!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Now go back and try it again using enriched uranium.

And can we do it with kryptonite? And fluffer-nutter?

Oh, how can you doubt saint McCain?

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's Korea policy might have worked if the Republican Congress (and later Shrubya) didn't block funds earmarked for those reactors.

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on October 12, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

What?

"(b) North Korea's weapon did appear to be something of a dud, (c) they don't seem very good at this underground testing thing"

I've not heard that. Can you elaborate?

Posted by: anon on October 12, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Goodness, now even the evil Kaplan is getting all facty on us!

http://www.slate.com/id/2151354/nav/tap2/

Al and I will stick to Rush's Truthiness.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 12, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

American Hick,

The only misleading done in the buildup to Iraq was by the Bush administration and the neocons at the Pentagon.

Your trolling's gone seriously downhill of late. Illness? Personal problems? Maybe you need a vacation.

Posted by: phleabo on October 12, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

While we're talking about tiresome things, I'd like to add that the constant comparing of Bush and Clinton policies is getting old as well.

The biggest foreign policy mistake in recent years was the 2004 election, and that was our fault.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

On a mobile, so I can't provide a link.. but go to www.consortiumnews.com. Bob Parry reposted an article from the 1990s where the elder Bush is linked to Sun Myung Moon, who helped fund N. Korea's nuclear programs. Moon also owns the Washington Times. Once again, it is filthy conservatives behind the funding of tyrants. Just like they funded Saddam, Osama bin Laden and now, Kim Jong Il. Filth.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 12, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is via Instapundit, who seems oddly unconcerned with this particular pre-election leak of our nation's secret. (Compare to "we should fire the leakers on general principles" when someone leaked intelligence info to the New York Times that was damaging to the administration. I guess pro-Bush leaks are different.)

Well, duh. Surely no one confuses Instapundit with anything other than a pro-Bush partisan, much less an honest commentator, anymore.

Posted by: Gregory on October 12, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Another leak from the administration having to do with how badly their intelligence services got it. Yep, after six years and an FBI bust at CIA, you'd think that the Bush administration would have figured out how to deal with the...Bush administrations problems. But, according to themselves, they haven't. Apparently though, they continue to try the same tactics even though...the situation isn't improving. Parse away, parse away, parse away home.

Posted by: parrot on October 12, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bush I: 1-2 bombs worth of plutonium
Clinton: Zero plutonium
Bush II: 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium and counting, first nuclear test
We've all seen this gag. Now go back and try it again using enriched uranium.
Posted by: fairway

OK
Bush I: 1-2 bombs worth of plutonium, Bombs worth of enricherd uranium-? (no nukes tested)
Clinton: 0 bombs worth of plutonium, bombs of enriched uranium-?(no nukes teste
Bush II: 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium bombs worth of enriched uranium-? Nukes made from plutonium tested-1 and counting

If that makes you feel better there is something seriously wrong with you.

Posted by: klyde on October 12, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Goodness, now even the evil Kaplan is getting all facty on us!
http://www.slate.com/id/2151354/nav/tap2/
Al and I will stick to Rush's Truthiness.
Posted by: Al's Mommy


Facts are such silly things.

Posted by: klyde on October 12, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

There is one and only one take-home message on North Korea:

Clinton's approach: NO BOMBS

Bush's approach: MANY BOMBS

Bush's approach is a failure.

Repukeliscum are all failures.

Posted by: POed Lib on October 12, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Among other nuggest in the Wash Times article: The author lists some other intelligence failures over the last few years, including "overly optimistic" assessments of how Iraqis would react to an invasion. Really? So all that crap about being greeted with flowers came from the CIA?

Posted by: cramer on October 12, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

who handled the Iranian hostage crisis as president by doing absoutely nothing because he is a peace-loving liberal,

Is this the latest talking point, that Carter "did nothing" during the hostage crisis? Why do I think that mhr wasn't even alive yet when Carter was president? I mean, my God.

Talking with paranoid schizophrenics does no good.

This is in stark opposition, of course, to the bold action Bush has taken, namely nada.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on October 12, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

mhr,

How did the "inspectors" get in there for seven years, then tossed out with the Bush&Co moronic foreign policy?

I suppose the inspectors must have coincidently shown up at the North Korean door after the Clenis talked, just kinda waltzed right in. They stayed until Bush threw a fit in 2002 and North Korea threw them out, restarting their enrichment program.

Good timing on their part as they realized that dumb-f*ck Bush, true to his bullying nature, would likely not attack them if they could retaliate with nukes.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on October 12, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

According to officials familiar with the reports, the failures included judgments that cast doubt about whether North Korea's nuclear program posed an immediate threat, whether North Korea could produce a militarily useful nuclear bomb, whether North Korea was capable of conducting an underground nuclear test and whether Pyongyang was bluffing by claiming it could carry one out.

Actually, I'd say they got it right.

- NK's nuclear program poses no immediate threat to the U.S. In fact, if probably poses no long term threat. The whole point of having nukes is for one more deterent to a U.S. led invasion.

- So far, I believe the jury is out, but tilting to NK not yet having the ability to produce a "militarily useful" (as opposed to one for agricultural use?) bomb.

Next non-question.

Posted by: JeffII on October 12, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If he has a flaw, it's that he's too much of a perfectionist.


God, yes, that's his problem! It's just wrong to live in a world that falls so short of W's expectations, a world where people just go nukyular, just like that, as if they didn't hear you when you said not to.

Posted by: cld on October 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk writes:

..however, after the intelligence community so badly misled Bush on Iraq..

You still think Bush went to war over WMDs? What fantasy world are you living in?

Posted by: Andy on October 12, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Talking with paranoid schizophrenics does no good.
Posted by: mhr on October 12, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

. . . as you demonstrate for us on a daily basis, right here in this forum.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 12, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush plan on NK is exactly the Bush plan on Iraq:

1. Do nothing
2. Blame everyone else through all of time and space
3. Ask the Democrats what they would do (thus neatly sidestepping the inconvenient fact that he is the one who supposedly got elected to do stuff)
4. Ignore the answer

Posted by: craigie on October 12, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/10/05/DI2006100500978.html

Dana Priest on the cheney regime's failure.

Posted by: klyde on October 12, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

The era of Cheney is truly over if the best he can do is smear Fingar. How impotent!

The Republicans and specifically the Bush/Cheney team will be adding the North Korean albatross to the Iraq one until the end of the age.

Posted by: patience on October 12, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: Twelve years ago the great Jimmy Carter, who handled the Iranian hostage crisis as president by doing absoutely nothing because he is a peace-loving liberal...

We're talking the same President who authorized Operation Eagle Claw right? Nice to know you think the eight soldiers who died on that mission to rescue the hostages were "nothing." What is it about Bushites that they just don't care about the sarifices our military makes?

Posted by: cyntax on October 12, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Twelve years ago the great Jimmy Carter...blah, blah, blah...

Pretty soon the wingnut talking point will be that the current situation with North Korea is due to the fact that Roosevelt didn't punch out Stalin at Yalta.

Posted by: Wonderin on October 12, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Nuklurea what to do?

I say let Kim Jong keep his throne. The alternative is a gazillion Koreans who will end up in Los Angeles.

We are in no position to help straighten out a lunatic nation, screwed up by Stalin and Mao. This is a Chinese, South Korea problem. So, just give them some food, let South Korea sell them energy on the cheap and sign a non-aggression pact.

Posted by: Matt on October 12, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wonderin,

Why stop at Roosevelt? Let's just blame everything on Thomas Jefferson; if that bastard hadn't founded the Deomcratic party in 1792, just think of what President Bush could have accomplished by now.

Posted by: cyntax on October 12, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Pete Hoekstra? Now there's a reliable source. This is the same local Congressman who had conclusive proof that WMDs had indeed been found in Iraq, when what they had were decayed remains of shells sold from the U.S. which the weapons inspectors had found years before. This is also the same truthful Pete Hoekstra who defeated an incumbent in the primary with promises that he would only serve 12 years and then term himself out, and that was fourteen years ago.

Posted by: Slaw on October 12, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I blame Al.

Posted by: Johnny2Bad on October 12, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I say let Kim Jong keep his throne. The alternative is a gazillion Koreans who will end up in Los Angeles.

Well, we could prevent this with sensible immigration laws.

We are in no position to help straighten out a lunatic nation, screwed up by Stalin and Mao. This is a Chinese, South Korea problem. So, just give them some food, let South Korea sell them energy on the cheap and sign a non-aggression pact.
Posted by: Matt

Hear! Hear!

Posted by: JeffII on October 12, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark was blogging today over at his website securingamerica.com and had this to say on North Korea:

I am very concerned about the Administration's response to North Korea. Their policy has demonstrably failed. You can't get brittle with the NK's...they don't respond to that...you sort of have to work them around...we did that in 1994 to get the Framework Agreement, but it wasn't enough....I am very uneasy with the military options I hear talked about...I don't know how good their military is, but as a matter of principle I wouldn't believe they won't fight, and fight hard, and they have had a formidable arsenal. And NK is running out of options, meaning they may think they have less to lose. We are in a situation of rising danger, which I hope the Administration understands.

Posted by: catherineD on October 12, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

We're talking the same President who authorized Operation Eagle Claw right? Nice to know you think the eight soldiers who died on that mission to rescue the hostages were "nothing." What is it about Bushites that they just don't care about the sarifices our military makes? Posted by: cyntax

Yep! Same president who graduated from the naval academy and served on nuclear submarines as a gunnery officer. The same president who authorized development of the cruise missle, B2 bomber, Abrams tank, Bradley fighting vehicle and the Apache helicopter. The same president who authorized arming the Afghan rebels.

Yep. Real wuss, that one.

Posted by: JeffII on October 12, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Little history and other info for this thread:

1) Plutonium extraction (relatively easy) versus enriched uranium (pretty hard): All commercial nuclear reactors burn 3-5% U235 and output some plutonium. For a light water reactor, its about .6% by weight of the spent fuel rods or around 10kg per year (enough for 1 nuke). The NK reactors were completed and went online in 1986. Fuel rods get cycled out every three years or so (more often if you've got the spare 3% U235 fuel rods and want to harvest more plutonium). The NPT (NK was a signatory) would have required the rods go back to China, unclear if that happened. NK started building a fuel rod reprocessing plant (which can also separate out the plutonium) in 89 under elder Bush. Became active in 92 or 93. Unclear how much P239 they harvested out. Minimum, assuming they didn't have the extra fuel rods, was enough for 1-2 plutonium bombs. May have been a handful more. Reagan and H.W. Bush did nothing to stop NK and left a mess for Clinton to deal with. Didn't appease/bribe the elder Kim, but didn't stop him either.

2) Yes Clinton used a carrot (Agreed Framework: free oil, food and 2 lightwater reactors - with spent rods sent back to US) and stick (sabre rattling in early 94; sent advance logistics and repositioned some military assets). Since 94 the spent fuel rods were regularly counted and kept locked with inspections by IAEA. Were we appeasing or outright bribing the NK government? Yep. But it did work.

3) Uranium enrichment program: I don't doubt NK had some type of contingency plans for getting the other material for nukes (90% or greater U235) going under Clinton. Plans, sure. Actual progesss? Well, they apparently did not have the infrastructure from 94-2000. We're talking thousands of cascaded gas centrifuges (each the size of a small room), uranium ore processing facilities, and a hexaflourine plant. However, our intel said they actually started bringing gas centrifuges online in 2001 and 2002. Where did they get the technology? From Pakistan. Exchanged long range missles for them. Unofficially acknowledged in Oct 2002, but Bush needed Pakistan for GWOT so no problemo - the NK WMD program went right along. BTW, this did not make India happy. India that is now installing a heavy water reactor in Iran (output of 40-80kg of P239 yearly). Speaking of mixed messages, W also released $95M for the NK reactors in 2002.

4) Plutonium recovery: NK started limiting the IAEA inspectors and kicking them out by 2003. In early 2004 during a meeting with US officials, they acknowledged the uranium enrichment and that the previously shuttered reprocessing plant would begin to extract plutonium from the rods that had been under IAEA lockdown.


Argh! Too long a post. Plutonium primer: http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lanl/pubs/00818005.pdf

Slate article about NK & current Bush: http://www.slate.com/id/2151354

See also www.fas.org & www.globalsecurity.org for more basics about reactors, nuclear bombs(that was either a fake or a "fizzle" given the siesmic yield indications), and other stuff.

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

mhr on October 12, 2006 at 2:39 PM:

Twelve years ago the great Jimmy Carter, who...

Cripes, doesn't anyone read the previous comment sections? I covered this fallacy earlier with Cut 'n Run Jay...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 12, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well first they say jimmy did nothing,Then they say his Eagle Claw planned failed.So what lie would you like us to believe That he did nothing or that he did indeed try to do somthing.Even though most people think Ollie North had somthing to do with Operation Eagle Claw failing.

Posted by: Thomas2 on October 12, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yep! Same president who graduated from the naval academy and served on nuclear submarines as a gunnery officer.
Posted by: JeffII

Maybe if more of these guys had actually served in the military that wouldn't talk out their asses so much about people who did...

Posted by: cyntax on October 12, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, it's only a bad leak when it's negative to the Bushies. Otherwise it's open government in action.
America's Least Wanted

Posted by: budpaul on October 12, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

To an earlier poster: Yes, the NK test may have been a dud.

Based upon siesmic readings, it looks like the yield (force equivalent of the blast) was about 500 tons of TNT. Even the first WWII atomic bombs came in at about 15 kiloton or 15,000 tons. Most modern warheads (not the mini or suitcase bombs) are about 150 -350 Kt or 150,000 tons of TNT.

Either NK filled a mine shaft with explosives (a possibility: lots of ammonium nitrate & such) to make a bluff or the bomb was a "fizzle". My guess it was a fizzle. Unlike a simple uranium gun bomb that is easily built (and much easier to wrongly detonate), a plutonium nuke requires a near-perfect implosion. You surround that 10kg core of P239 with explosives, ignitor/reflector material (look it up yourself) and multiple detonation devices - perfect down to about 3/millionths of a second when they compress at the center of that plutonium sphere. If its off even by a little, there isn't a perfect meeting at the center - it kind of blows out the side. Some fission, but we're talking a tiny speck of matter conversion versus about a chewing gum stick of matter converted into energy. 500 tons versus 150,000 or a 300:1 difference. By the way, if its a fizzle, there will be lots of plutonium and other isotopes that will eventually be detectable (even from an underground blast).

Given the younger Kim's luck with missle tests, I'd bet that his engineers didn't quite get it right. They will likely try again.

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Habit-Vic;

Something aboput a liquid that does not like compression, eh?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

GC,

Actually a very heavy metal (2.5x of lead) - that 10kg sphere is only the size of a grapefruit. But you're right, it doesn't like the compression. Goes right to the atomic level and "loosens" enough nuetrons to make an uncontrolled self sustaining reaction. No this isn't technically precise, but this is a political thread. Besides the Repubs are faith based. Can't confuse their heads with facts or science.

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

I was on-line all night when NorK went Nuke. I was at every geeky site I could access...The academic databases I have access to, the USGS, waking up people I knew from the Titan II mission...And we all concluded - it was a fizzler. That activity from the Inchon USGS station would have been a hell of a lot more if they had succeeded in successfully detonating a P239 device.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. P239 is about 1.7x of lead. Getting late in the day and time to head home.

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

I just got home from school myself.

Come back soon - us geeks need another cohort.:)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Please tell us again who systematically disassembled our intelligence agencies? This is what happens when you want manufactured intel instead of real intel.

Posted by: burningbush on October 12, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

A little more history

Posted by: maclink on October 12, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Still blaming Clinton?

http://www.avantnews.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=106

Thanks Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld

Posted by: burningbush on October 12, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Maclink, thanks for the additional backgound.

Its very likely that NK had contingency plans for acquiring highly enriched uranium (versus reprocessing the P239 that the Agreed Framework focused upon) going back to 94. Heck, probably before then, back to the 80s or 70s. Plan is one thing. Doing is another.

Then we have shades of grey. Example: Iran has 165 cascaded centrifuges that can output 3.6% U235. Good for reactor rods, can't be used for a nuke. However, once you know how to do the cascaded centrifuges, who's to say you don't go on and cascade 1200 (minimum # for 90% weapons grade uranium), or the more typical 5,000 or so to make production bomb uranium?

So back to NK, perhaps some of the initial purchases were under Clinton - though its hazy as to whether those first centrifuges really were for research - or pilot of highly enriched uranium - or both.

Main point, is that NK really got cranking on the enriched uranium AND the plutonium recovery under W's tenure. Hell, they even admitted it, plus they were buying the material from one of our GWOT "partners" - Pakistan.

Fine, maybe they started some of this under Clinton. But they finished it (dud bomb test aside) under W. They admitted this FOUR YEARS AGO! Four years of out in the open, "we're telling you we're going to do it" efforts by NK and this administration's policy is to blame Clinton for the (maybe) 5% or 10% of uranium efforts that occured in 98, or 2000?

WTF? How about manning up and taking a little responsibility?

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

On a mobile, so I can't provide a link.. but go to www.consortiumnews.com. Bob Parry reposted an article from the 1990s where the elder Bush is linked to Sun Myung Moon, who helped fund N. Korea's nuclear programs. Moon also owns the Washington Times. Once again, it is filthy conservatives behind the funding of tyrants. Just like they funded Saddam, Osama bin Laden and now, Kim Jong Il. Filth.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 12, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Last week Paul Wolfowitz, who may very well be our next Sec. of State if Bush were to win the election, told an interviewer that there is a de facto quid pro quo between the BushAdmin and Masharraf: you help us capture the Taliban (meaning: Bin Laden) and we'll not make waves about your political need to pardon your nuke "hero," Dr. A. Q. Kahn, who has been selling nuclear secrets to "rogue nations" (Iran, N. Korea, Lybia) for years.

http://www.bushwatch.com/kahn.htm

Game,match,point.

Posted by: burningbush on October 12, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK


"....but the fact is that Bush has spent more than four years waving his arms manically but doing absolutely nothing of any substance about the North Korean threat." - Kevin

But the facts suggest otherwise:


"July 2000: North Korea again threatens to restart its nuclear program if Washington doesn't compensate for the loss of electricity caused by delays in building nuclear power plants.

June 2001: North Korea warns it will reconsider its moratorium on missile tests if the Bush administration doesn't resume contacts aimed at normalizing relations.

July: State Department reports North Korea is going ahead with development of its long-range missile. A Bush administration official says North Korea conducts an engine test of the Taepodong-1 missile.

December: President Bush warns Iraq and North Korea that they would be "held accountable" if they developed weapons of mass destruction "that will be used to terrorize nations."

Jan. 29, 2002: Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger," he says.

Oct. 4: A visiting U.S. delegation says North Korean officials revealed that the country has a second covert nuclear weapons program in violation of the 1994 agreement -- a program using enriched uranium. North Korea later denies this.

Oct. 16: U.S. officials say they have discovered evidence of a nuclear weapons program in North Korea.

Oct. 26: Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meet at an Asian-Pacific regional summit in Mexico and agree to seek a peaceful end to the North's nuclear problem.

Nov. 11: The United States, Japan and South Korea halt oil supplies to North Korea promised under the 1994 deal.

Dec. 12: North Korea reactivates nuclear facilities at Yongbyon that were frozen under the 1994 deal with the United States.

Dec. 13: North Korea asks the U.N. nuclear watchdog to remove monitoring seals and cameras from its nuclear facilities.

Dec. 14: The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency urges North Korea to retract its decision to reactivate its nuclear facilities and abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty."

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/08/20/nkorea.timeline.nuclear/

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Last week Paul Wolfowitz, who may very well be our next Sec. of State if Bush were to win the election, told an interviewer that there is a de facto quid pro quo between the BushAdmin and Masharraf: you help us capture the Taliban (meaning: Bin Laden) and we'll not make waves about your political need to pardon your nuke "hero," Dr. A. Q. Kahn, who has been selling nuclear secrets to "rogue nations" (Iran, N. Korea, Lybia) for years." - burningbush


That is primarily because Khans damage had already been done. Let's see who was President prior to 2001?


"A.Q. Khan's official career came to an abrupt end in March 2001, when he was suddenly was forced out as director of the nuclear lab by order of President Pervez Musharraf. Though Kahn was made a special adviser to the government, the reason for his dismissal reportedly coincided with concerns about financial improprieties at the lab as well as general warnings from the United States to the Musharraf about Khans proliferation activities. Musharraf's restraint in dealing with A.Q. Khan has been said to have resulted from the lack of incontrovertible evidence of proliferation activities. Nonetheless, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in an article which appeared in the Financial Times on 01 June 2001, expressed concern that, "people who were employed by the nuclear agency and have retired" may be assisting North Korea with its nuclear program."

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/pakistan/khan.htm


Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jay

Did you read your own post? It dispoves your argument. He talked alot, drew many lines in the sand but did nothing each time NK steped over them.

Posted by: burnigbush on October 12, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Did you read your own post? It dispoves your argument.

That's Jay's specialty -- disproving his own point. Don't worry though, he'll never admit to it. He'll merely just post more facts that further disproves his point.

Posted by: Disputo on October 12, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Are you suggesting that we invade?

Multi-lateral talks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or are you a go-it-alone cowboy?

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Please tell us again who systematically disassembled our intelligence agencies? This is what happens when you want manufactured intel instead of real intel." - burningbush


Remarks by Frederick P. Hitz
Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency

November 11, 1997

"CIA in the 21st Century"

"Currently, we are spread too thin, trying to meet requests for intelligence information from too many quarters to satisfy what are often marginal needs. After all, the official requesters for our products do not pay anything for the service, and don't sacrifice anything in their budgets to obtain it. As a can-do, mission-driven Agency, we are prone to respond positively to such marginal requests without reflecting on whether this is an appropriate claim on our diminished resources. I would prefer for our leaders to do the unprecedented and just say no. Then we could concentrate on those core areas of our responsibility where our input is unique.

Finally, the collection, analysis and dissemination of quality intelligence is a demanding, difficult and often risky business. It requires the full and articulated support of the President and his top policymakers and the confidence and recognition of the US public. An obvious and perhaps unavoidable side effect of recent revelations about CIA failures and mistakes has been substantial erosion in public support for the work of US intelligence agencies."

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

OK, Jay. Your point is ...what? That W did a lot of finger-wagging? Culminating in cutting off the oil in Dec of 02? One actual action.

I should point out that the oil has been on-again / off-again going back to Repub congress cutting funding in summer 2000. Actually SK was out of the deal for about 5 years when a NK spy sub ran aground in SK in 96.

So, other than actively torpedo the bribe/appeasement (but working) of the Framework, he finally officially cut off the oil in Dec 02. Big Whoop. Oh and 6-way talks in '05 that went nowhere.

BTW, what did W do after they kicked out the inspectors in 03? When they bought hundreds, maybe thousands of centrifuges from Pakistan (in exchange for long range missles!)? When they told us they would break the IAEA seals and started reprocessing the fuel rods in early 04?

So W is a tough-talking Texan. Fine, but this is all hat and no cattle. If Repubs are philosophically opposed to buying off a rogue state like NK ... well, OK but have more of a plan than just stopping giving them free oil.

Nearly four years of inaction? If we're talking about taking out Iranian facilities that are 3, 5, or maybe 10 years away from a nuke then why wouldn't we do something to take out the (known location) reactors and reprocessing plant?

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jay obfuscates:

That is primarily because Khans damage had already been done. Let's see who was President prior to 2001?

Prior to 2001? Well, the Kahn network began in the mid 80s when Reagan was pres, and first contacts with NK began in 92 when GHWB was Pres.

But to get to the point, March of 2001 didn't end Kahn's activities. Most of the tech of concern was transfered to NK between 2001 and 2003, and this was allowed to happen because GWB was preoccupied with fixing the facts to invade Iraq.

But, hey, a knucklehead such as yourself will blame that on Clinton anyway, I'm sure.

Posted by: Disputo on October 12, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Operation EAGLE CLAW
The failed rescue of American hostages, Iran, 1980.

On November 4, 1979 a mob in Iran stormed the US Embassy and took the staff and USMC security contigent hostage."


But I thought Bush was responsible for all the violence?

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, the Kahn network began in the mid 80s when Reagan was pres..." - Disputo


That's it. Blame Reagan.

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Nearly four years of inaction? If we're talking about taking out Iranian facilities that are 3, 5, or maybe 10 years away from a nuke then why wouldn't we do something to take out the (known location) reactors and reprocessing plant?" - Habitat-Vic


Sounds to me like you're advocating uni-lateral aggression against a soveriegn country that is no imminent threat.

Are you?

Posted by: Jay on October 12, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Sounds to me like you're advocating uni-lateral aggression against a soveriegn country that is no imminent threat." - Jay

Damn straight! Being opposed to Bush's incompetent handling and idiot posturing on foreign policy DOES NOT mean I'm a cowardly left wing traitor (been drinking too much Kool-Aid, Jay) who never advocates forceful response or defense of our country. And where did you get the "no immminent threat" statement? NK already had a stockpile of rods with P239 in them (and yes, those reactors that produced them were built and online under Reagan & GHWB); had a shuttered, but ready to go reprocessing facility (also built under GWHB). Once they started reprocessing the spent rods, they were only 6-12 months away from enough P239 to start assembling a bomb. Add another 12 months to get all the assembly, timing, and other stuff towards building the first test warhead (OK, NK took almost 2 years in that step - and it was a fizzle).

Hell yes, that's imminent - and a hell of a lot different than Iraq or even Iran. My point is if you're going to talk the talk, be ready to walk the walk. That or don't try to BS and hope for the best. Christ, even Clinton did some sabre rattling and repositioning of troops/assets/advisors in 94 - and was criticized by Repubs for doing so. Commander Codpeice couldn't do the same? Not even a show of force nearby?

Instead he did nothing (other than 6-way talks, no show of force there) after every one of these (and more) steps by NK in pursuit of both uranium AND plutonium bomb programs. So he cut off the "bribes" and hoped for the best.

Quit being an apologist for W. The fact remains that the real actions (not just plans/info - material bought & installed; locks broken; missle and bomb tests) happened under W's tenure.

Clinton's fault? WTF? Bush is incapable of doing anything based upon plans that were hatched back in 2000? In nearly six years in office? In four years of the little NK dictator thumbing his nose at the US, our only response is to cut off his oil? Then what the hell good W is anyway? Seriously.

Posted by: Habitat-Vic on October 12, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's just unbelievable how Jay has stupided up this thread. You'd think that after he humiliated himself with the atom bomb remark that he would have cut his losses and tried to salvage his... something.

I guess some people just have no self-respect.

Posted by: oy on October 12, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

The hilarious irony of the people who claim to be the "Party of Personal Responsiblity" yet have spent the last 5+ yearss blaming everything that has gone wrong on their watch on everyone but themselves is one of those things that never ceases to amaze me.

McCain's denunciation of fingerpointing while pointing his finger reminds me of the half-senile substitute math teacher who, after one of my classmates uttered the word "shit" after his pen hemorraged ink all over him prompty screamed "Goddammit! I will not tolerate that kind of language in my fucking class"...right as the principal walked by, no less.

we never saw that teachcer again, i hope someday i can say the same for "maverick" mcCain

Posted by: The Crapture on October 12, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Only in a totally sc rewed up country like the U.S. would an embarassment to the intelligence services be seen as a boost to the commander in chief.


BTW, YankPigeon says: "If he has a flaw, it's that he's too much of a perfectionist."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
That's utterly priceless.

Posted by: billy on October 12, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Hi American ChickenHawk!
I apologize for the tiny penis comment the other day. Your brain is obviously much smaller. My question is, why are you still here and not off defending your country?(giggle). The Army is so desperate for more roadside bomb fodder it's new recruiting pitch is... Eight to Eighty, Crippled or Crazy!!!

Posted by: Ralphy D on October 13, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. Love the Troops! Hate the War!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ralphy D on October 13, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest single deterrent to invading North Korea is not nukes but terrain. Second on the list is that the Koreans (North and South, but not necessarily SCentral LA variety) are mean as snakes.

Last time we invaded the place it didn't turn out well.

For all the pencil-dicked keyboard warriors so anxious to charge across a Korean beach, I heartily suggest a ride on a SKorean train or bus down the coast. NKorea looks just like that (except for the neon city lights and the well-fed populace and the good roads).

It ain't Normandy and it ain't Guam and it ain't Okinawa, sports fans.

Go find one of your grandfather's one-legged veteran buddies and ask him about a Koran military campaign...or a Korean winter.

And, if you simplisticly think we can just, "pop a few nooks on their asses," be advised that almost ALL of the fallout would drop onto Japan and the American NW. Might make Anchorage and Tokyo glow in the dark, eh?

Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups, or the bellicosity of individuals who have never heard bullets fly near them...

Posted by: Sailor Sam on October 13, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

"find one of your grandfather's one-legged veteran buddies"

Yeah, and check out the frost bite damage they still carry.

I knew a former Provost Marshall from the 24th Div who had stayed in Japan. He spoke of going to the Grave Registration unit where bodies were being transshipped back to the states. Tremendous signs of frost bite on them. Tough campaign and forgotten by many.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 13, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest single deterrent to invading North Korea is not nukes but terrain. Posted by: Sailor Sam

Jesus. This is like something posted by one of the battle-hardened 101st Keyboardists. Stupid does not begin to describe your post.

The single biggest deterent to invading NK is that they have enough rockets and artillary to reduce much of Seoul, less than 50 miles away from the DMZ, to flaming rubble in about 15 minutes. NK is also believed to have sufficient stocks of Scuds to do the same to Sapporo and Tokyo. We couldn't launch a first strike stealthy enough or fast enough to keep this from happening.

We don't know that KJI is suicidally as Hitler was in the last months of WWII, but I'm not willing to risk the gamble nor do I imagine is anyone in South Korea or Japan.

Posted by: JeffII on October 13, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Dickweed, xenon isn't detected with an "aerosol analyser". It's a fucking noble gas. It doesn't form aerosols or interact significantly with particulates at temperatures above -100 degrees C.
Posted by: asdf on October 12, 2006 at 12:57 AM

Yes, Buffy. You've an advanced degree in ignoble flatulence, cum laudanum, from the "Deliverance" School of Nukeeler Physiques. Your advisor, Prof. Drum, invented The Kenneth Kit, a portable grassy knoll + tin foil array guaranteed to pickup DPRK frequencies that broadcast clandestine conspiracies to fake nukeeler tests.

Meanwhile, in the real world:

The US does support the section of the CTBT calling for an International Monitoring System, or IMS. This global nuclear monitoring system would consist of 80 radionuclide aerosol monitoring stations, 40 of which would also be equipped to measure xenon gas. This network, largely consisting of RASA and ARSA technology, will ensure a 95 percent chance of detection of any nuclear testing in the world that vents to the atmosphere within two weeks.

Posted by: Riddley Walker on October 14, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Gosh, what a revelation -- Bush blaming the intelligence agencies. Umm, didn't we hear something like that in the aftermath of Bush's preemptive bombing and occupation of Iraq? Well, at least he hasn't joined John McCain just yet in blaming Clinton for Korea or for 9/11.

Syllogism: Good things happen, therefore Bush gets credit; bad things happen, therefore Clinton gets blame.

O.K. voters, you have all the information you need. But just in case, Diebold is standing by to make sure good things happen.

Posted by: Richard on October 14, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

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