INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 16 2017

Former DNI hammers Trump over FBI Comey’s firing — North Korea renews accusation against CIA — Top US Physicist on Strategic Security Challenges to the US  — North Korea tests new “nuclear” missile

US Physicist Richard Garwin

James Clapper: democratic institutions are ‘under assault’ by Trump — Guardian

Former national intelligence director hammers the president’s actions, calling James Comey’s firing ‘another victory for Russia’

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper has accused Donald Trump of placing American democratic institutions “under assault” following the sacking of James Comey and cautioned that the former FBI director’s removal is “another victory” for Russia.

The forceful criticism comes as the justice department began screening candidates for Comey’s replacement and Democrats renewed calls for a special prosecutor to oversee an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“I think in many ways our institutions are under assault,” Clapper told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “Both externally, and that’s the big news here, is Russian interference in our election system. And I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”

North Korea renews accusation of CIA assassination plot — Reuters

North Korea, increasingly isolated over its repeated weapons tests in violation of UN resolutions, on Monday renewed its accusation of a U.S. and South Korean intelligence plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un.

At a media briefing at its embassy in Beijing, North Korea’s ambassador to China said the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korean National Intelligence Service conspired “secretly and meticulously” in hatching their plot to use “radioactive or nano-poisonous substances” to assassinate Kim.

“We believe this extreme crime was orchestrated by hostile forces in order to damage North Korea’s domestic affairs,” Ambassador Ji Jae Ryong said.

Garwin on Strategic Security Challenges to the US — Secrecy News

There are at least four major “strategic security challenges” that could place the United States at risk within the next decade, physicist Richard L. Garwin told the National Academy of Sciences earlier this month.

“The greatest threat, based on expected value of damage, is cyberattack,” he said. Other challenges arise from the actions of North Korea and Iran, due to their pursuit or acquisition of nuclear weapons and/or missiles. The remaining threat is due to the potential instability associated with the existing U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal.

These four could be ordered, he said, by the relative difficulty of reducing the threat, from “easiest” to hardest: “the Iranian nuclear program; North Korea; the U.S. nuclear weapon capability and its evolution; and, finally, most importantly and probably most difficult of solution, the cyber threat to the United States.”

In his remarks, Garwin characterized each of the challenges and discussed possible steps that could be taken to mitigate the hazards involved. See Strategic Security Challenges for 2017 and Beyond, May 1, 2017.

North Korea: missile tested over weekend ‘can carry nuclear warhead’ — Guardian

North Korea has claimed that the test of a mid-to-long range missile on Sunday, supervised by leader Kim Jong-un, was aimed at verifying the capability to carry a “large-scale, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Kim accused the United States of “browbeating” countries that “have no nukes” and warned Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North’s “sighting range for strike”, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported.

KCNA said the missile fired local time on Sunday morning was a Hwasong-12 “capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead”.

The North fired the ballistic missile that landed in the sea near Russia on Sunday in a launch that Washington called a message to South Korea, days after its new president took office pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 16 2017

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