미국 LA타임즈의 기자가 작심하고 쓴 것 같습니다. 좋은 참고가 될 것 같습니다.
연합뉴스의 요약기사와 LA타임즈 원문을 모두 옮겨 봅니다.
"美 북한 핵능력 정보 신뢰성 의문"
="핵정보 모순적이고 일관성 없어"
="CIA 보고 증거아닌 정치적 판단"
="핵보유 가능성 있다면 대응해야"
(서울=연합뉴스) 송병승 기자= 북한의 핵 능력에 대한 정보기관의 정보에 대한 신뢰성에 의문
이 제기되고 있으며 이 같은 모호한 정보에 의존한 대북 정책은 추가적인 신뢰의 손상을 가져올
우려가 있다고 미국 서부 최대 일간지 로스앤젤레스 타임스 인터넷판이 9일 경고했다.
다음은 북한 핵 정보의 신뢰성에 관한 대한 LA 타임스 기사를 요약한 것이다.
『부시 행정부는 최근 수개월간 북한이 1개, 혹은 2개의 핵무기를 보유하고 있으며 더 많은
핵무기를 보유할 수 있는 능력을 빠르게 갖추고 있다고 주장해왔다. 이 같은 주장은 아시아에서
핵무기 경쟁을 촉발할 우려를 불러 일으키고 있으며 테러 조직이 북한으로부터 핵무기를 입수할
가능성을 높여주고 있다.
그러나 미국 정부의 북한 핵능력에 대한 평가는 제한되고 오래된 빈약한 정보에 근거한 것이라
고 국내외 전현직 정보 전문가들은 지적하고 있다.
미 행정부 밖이나 심지어 행정부 내부의 조용한 구석에서는 북한이 플루토늄으로부터 핵무기
를 제조하는 데 성공했다는 합의에 이르지 못하고 있다. 독립적인 전문가들 뿐 아니라 일부 행정
부 관리들도 북한이 수개월 내에 비밀 우라늄 농축 공장에서 더 많은 무기급 원료를 제조할 것이라
는 미행정부의 주장에 대해 회의적인 반응을 보이고 있다.
북한 핵개발 문제를 추적해온 미국, 아시아, 유럽의 전 현직 정보관리 30여명에게 질문해본 결
과 미국은 농축 우라늄을 생산할 수 있다는 북한의 핵시설을 찾아내는 데 실패했다는 것이다.
북한 핵위기 해결을 위한 6자회담 개최 노력이 진행되고 있는 가운데 미국은 한국, 중국, 일본
, 러시아 등 다른 참가국의 지지를 얻어내기 위해 북한을 전지구적인 위협으로 묘사하고 있다.
미국은 이라크 전쟁 이전부터 `악의 축'의 하나로 규정한 북한의 위협을 과장함으로써 국제 여
론의 지지를 얻으려 노력해왔다.
이라크의 비재래식 무기의 존재에 대한 미국의 주장은 북한의 경우에 비해 비교적 강한 정보
수집능력에도 불구하고 아직 입증하지 못하고 있다.
북한에서 스파이를 고용하는 것은 거의 불가능하다. 북한의 군사시설은 수천개의 터널 속에
숨겨져 있다. 북한에 대한 배신은 죽음을 의미하고 남아 있는 가족은 강제 수용소로 보내지는 상
황에서 비중 있는 인물의 망명을 기대하기도 힘들다. 이에 따라 미국은 대화 도청, 위성 사진, 외
국의 정보에 크게 의존하고 있다. 그러나 이런 정보는 의심과 증거 사이의 갭을 메우지 못하고 있
다고 전현직 정보 소식통들은 지적하고 있다.
북한이 발표하는 성명도 모순되는 점이 있어 혼란을 가중시키고 있다. 북한은 "핵 억지력을 보
유하고 있다"고 밝혔으나 핵무기를 보유하고 있다는 미국의 주장은 부인하고 있다.
잭 프리처드 전 미 국무부 대북교섭담당 대사는 북한 핵문제의 핵심적인 부분에 있어 "미국은
어둠속에 있다"고 말했다. 프리처드 전 대사는 "우리는 그들(북한)이 무엇을 하고 있는지 모르고
미국 정보기관들의 북한의 플루토늄 및 농축 우라늄을 이용한 핵무기 제조 능력에 대한 정보는
모순적이고 일관성이 없다고 분석가들은 지적하고 있다.
심지어 일부 분석가는 미국 중앙정보국(CIA)의 보고는 증거가 아니라 정치적인 판단이라고 혹
익명을 요구한 전직 미행정부 관리는 최근의 정보들은 정치적인 고려에 따른 것으로 의심되고
있으며 이것은 "진실을 감추고 보스가 듣기 원하는 말을 해주는 셈"이라고 밝혔다.
그러나 일부 전문가들은 CIA의 정보에 의심이 가는 부분이 있더라도 예측 불가능하고 초군사
정권인 북한이 조금이라고 핵무기를 보유할 가능성이 있다면 이에 대해 강력한 대응이 필요하다고
경제적으로 매우 어려운 상태에 있는 북한의 주 외화 수입원은 미사일 및 관련 기술을 리비아
및 이란으로 수출하는 것이며 미국 정보기관은 북한이 매년 마약 수출로 수천만달러의 수입을 올
리고 있는 것으로 보고 있다.
미사일, 마약에 이어 북한의 다음 수출 품목은 핵무기가 될 것이라는 논리적 추론이 가능하다
고 전문가들은 지적하고 있다.
카네기 국제평화재단의 조지프 시린시온은 "북한은 완전히 도덕과는 상관 없이 행동하고 국제
적으로 고립돼 있으며 달러를 구하는 데 혈안이 돼 있다"고 밝히고 "미국의 제 1 우려는 북한이
핵무기로 미국을 공격하는 것이 아니라 미국을 공격할 의사가 있는 누군가에게 핵무기를 파는 것
그러나 다른 전문가들은 북한이 테러 단체와 접촉했다는 증거가 없으며 북한은 그런 행동이
지난 50년간 두려워해온 미국의 대규모 보복을 초래할 것이라는 것을 잘 알고 있다고 지적했다.
한 고위 정보관리는 "누구도 한계선을 넘지는 못한다. 그것은 전멸을 의미하기 때문"이라고
2003/12/09 15:30 송고
home-headlines a d v e r t i s e m e n t
N. Korea's Nuclear Success Is Doubted
Experts question U.S. claims about its atomic abilities and warn a confrontation based on
dubious evidence could further damage trust.
By Douglas Frantz
Times Staff Writer
December 9, 2003
SEOUL — The Bush administration has asserted in recent months that North Korea possesses one
or two nuclear bombs and is rapidly developing the means to make more. The statements have
raised anxiety about a nuclear arms race in Asia and the possibility that terrorists could
obtain atomic weapons from the North Korean regime.
But the administration's assessment rests on meager fresh evidence and limited, sometimes
dated, intelligence, according to current and former U.S. and foreign officials.
Outside the administration, and in some quiet corners within it, there is nothing close to a
consensus that North Korean scientists have succeeded in fabricating atomic bombs from
plutonium, as the CIA concluded in a document made public last month.
Independent experts and some U.S. officials also are skeptical of administration claims that
North Korea is within months of manufacturing material for more weapons at a secret uranium
Interviews with more than 30 current and former intelligence officials and diplomats in
Asia, Europe and the United States provide an in-depth look at the development of North
Korea's nuclear program, the regime's elaborate efforts to conceal it and the behind-the-
scenes debate over how much danger it poses.
According to these officials:
The U.S. has failed to find the North Korean plant that the Bush administration says will
soon start producing highly enriched uranium.
North Korea's attempts to reprocess plutonium recently hit a roadblock, raising new
questions about its technical capabilities.
China rushed 40,000 troops to its border with North Korea last summer after the U.S. warned
that the regime of Kim Jong Il might try to smuggle "a grapefruit-size" quantity of
plutonium out of the country. No signs of smuggling have been discovered.
The doubts about U.S. intelligence come as the administration engages in a high-wire
diplomatic battle over its demand that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program and open
the country to inspectors.
Six-country negotiations aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis could resume later this month
or early next year. In what some see as a bid for backing from the other parties — China,
Japan, Russia and South Korea — the U.S. has portrayed North Korea as a global threat.
Its language is reminiscent of administration rhetoric before the Iraq war, as is the worry
in some quarters that the U.S. is exaggerating the danger to galvanize world opinion against
another regime in what President Bush termed an "axis of evil."
Even officials and experts who question the administration's latest conclusions acknowledge
that there is ample evidence that North Korea is trying to develop atomic weapons.
But they say that walking into another confrontation based on dubious evidence could make
the danger seem more rhetorical than real and could further damage trust in U.S.
The administration's claims about Iraqi unconventional weapons, which have yet to be
verified by evidence on the ground, were based on intelligence that seems robust compared to
what is available about North Korea.
Recruiting spies there is almost impossible. Military installations are hidden in thousands
of tunnels. Few significant defectors have emerged from a country where disloyalty is
punishable by death and families left behind face labor camps or worse.
So the U.S. depends heavily on intercepted conversations, satellite images and intelligence
from foreign governments — sources that many current and former officials say do not bridge
the gap between suspicion and proof.
North Korea's own statements have been contradictory. The regime has said it possesses a
"nuclear deterrent," but has also rejected U.S. assertions about its capabilities.
Charles Pritchard, who resigned last summer as a State Department special envoy on North
Korean nuclear matters, said the U.S. is in the dark on essential aspects of the North's
"We don't know what they're doing," he said.
Doubts about the credibility of U.S. intelligence are focused on two frightening
allegations. In written answers to questions from a Senate committee, the CIA said recently
— and for the first time — that North Korea had produced nuclear bombs from plutonium and
had mastered the technology for making more.
The agency provided the answers in August. They became public last month when the Federation
of American Scientists, a private arms-control organization, posted them on its Web site
"We assess that North Korea has produced one or two simple fission-type nuclear weapons and
has validated the designs without conducting yield-producing nuclear tests," the CIA said.
Months earlier, a top administration official said North Korea was close to producing bomb
material through a separate process of enriching uranium.
The official, Assistant Secretary of State James A. Kelly, told a Senate committee in March
that North Korea was within months of being able to manufacture weapons-grade uranium.
Kelly's statement assumed more rapid technical progress by North Korea than had previous
assessments. An unclassified CIA report from November 2002 said that the North was working
on an enrichment plant capable of starting production "as soon as 2005."
Kelly's remark raised concern because enriching uranium would give the North a second avenue
for weapons production and one easier to conceal than plutonium reprocessing.
Analysts said other reports within the U.S. intelligence community have been contradictory
and inconclusive about North Korea's advances in both plutonium bomb-making and uranium
To some, the wording of the CIA report shouted political considerations, not proof.
" 'We assess' means they concluded based upon a judgment of North Korean intent and
capabilities," said Robert Gallucci, the Clinton administration's top negotiator with the
North. "Those are political judgments."
A former Bush administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he
suspected the recent statements were driven by politics. He described it as "a case of
pleasing the bosses by telling them what they want to hear or analysts covering their
Still, some experts believe the U.S. has enough information to support its conclusion about
North Korean nuclear capabilities.
"Through our close discussions with the United States, we are positive that nuclear weapons
have been reached," said Kim Tae Hyo, a nonproliferation expert at a Seoul think tank.
Bill Harlow, the chief CIA spokesman, declined to discuss the information underlying the
agency's recent conclusions. Nor would he respond to written questions.
Despite the doubts about U.S. intelligence, many experts advocate adopting the worst-case
scenario because of the danger of underestimating North Korea.
"If we mean anything we say about weapons of mass destruction being the paramount security
danger to our way of life, this is it," said Ashton B. Carter, an assistant secretary of
Defense in the Clinton administration. "It doesn't get any bigger than this."
The weakness of U.S. intelligence on North Korea has been evident for years.
"The many unanswered questions regarding North Korea, including its nuclear program, all
reflect an inadequate commitment to intelligence gathering for decades on the part of the
U.S. government," said Keith Luse, a staff member for Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R.-Ind.),
chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
In early 1995, Thomas Hubbard, a career U.S. diplomat, stood before a room filled with
agents and analysts at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
Fresh from Pyongyang, the North's capital, where he had negotiated the release of a U.S.
Army helicopter pilot shot down over North Korea, Hubbard had been invited to share his
"There were about 200 people in the room, many of whom had spent their entire adult lives
studying North Korea, and I realized none of them had ever been there," Hubbard, now U.S.
ambassador to South Korea, said in a recent interview.
Donald P. Gregg, who was CIA station chief in South Korea and later U.S. ambassador to that
country, calls North Korea "the longest-running intelligence failure in U.S. history." He
recalled an encounter last year with a North Korean official.
"I told him that we'd recruited people in Russia, Iraq and other countries, but we never
turned a North Korean," said Gregg, chairman of the Korea Society, a foundation in New York
that promotes U.S.-Korean ties. "He puffed out his chest and smiled."
The limits of U.S. intelligence were driven home in May 1999.
Satellites had picked up extensive tunneling at Mt. Kumchangri near Yongbyon, the center of
the North's nuclear facilities.
Before allowing U.S. officials and technicians inside the mountain, the North insisted on a
donation of 500,000 metric tons of food. Once the demand was met, the team spent several
days exploring the site before determining it was on a wild goose chase.
Other countries with a stake in the crisis have done little better.
China built a potent espionage network inside North Korea when it was the North's chief
benefactor during the Cold War. But as the North grew wary of its neighbor's aims, Chinese
agents were systematically imprisoned or executed over the last decade, according to
intelligence officials in the region.
A senior foreign intelligence official said of the Chinese: "They are now blind."
The origins of North Korea's nuclear program and its ultra-secrecy lie in the Korean War.
The U.S. bombed the country relentlessly, and historical archives show that Gen. Douglas
MacArthur sought 26 atomic bombs to use against North Korean and possibly Chinese targets.
"The leaders were awed by U.S. aerial technology," said Lim Young Sun, a North Korean army
officer who defected to South Korea several years ago. "Since then, they have been digging
all the time."
Lim said he spent 13 years overseeing the boring of tunnels into mountains to conceal
everything from aircraft hangars to uniform factories. "If war broke out today and the U.S.
bombed all the facilities that they think produce military goods, production will continue,"
The fear bordering on paranoia that created a nation of moles did not end with the war in
1953. U.S. threats of nuclear attacks resurfaced periodically in the years that followed.
Just five years ago, U.S. fighter-bombers simulated a long-range nuclear strike on North
The Soviet Union got North Korea started in the nuclear business in the 1950s by helping to
build an experimental nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. About
200 North Korean scientists were trained at Soviet nuclear institutes.
U.S. spy satellites detected work on a larger reactor at Yongbyon in the 1980s. The
discovery created enough international pressure to persuade North Korea to sign the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985.
In a pattern that would be repeated, the North stalled for seven years before inspectors
from the International Atomic Energy Agency were allowed to examine its nuclear facilities.
The first inspection team arrived in May 1992. Providing new details of the mission,
diplomats said that team members quickly suspected the Koreans were lying about how much
plutonium had been extracted from fuel rods at Yongbyon.
Plutonium is a man-made element that must be extracted from irradiated reactor fuel for use
in weapons. Records provided by the North Koreans said they had reprocessed 30 fuel rods and
produced 90 grams of plutonium — a fraction of the amount needed for a single bomb — after
the plant was shut down for three months in 1989.
The IAEA analysis of laboratory data indicated the reactor had been stopped four times and
that the North Koreans had extracted enough plutonium for one or two bombs. Depending on
technical capability and desired yield, a bomb requires 4 to 8 kilograms of plutonium.
Inspectors suspected the plutonium was buried in a waste dump camouflaged by new soil and
freshly planted trees outside the complex. Suspicions also focused on a nearby building
believed to be a reprocessing plant.
The inspectors demanded access to both sites. The North Koreans refused.
The IAEA, stung by its failure to discover Iraq's secret nuclear program before the 1991
Persian Gulf War, asked the U.N. Security Council for permission to carry out a special
inspection of the North's suspicious facilities. The permission was granted, but the North
still refused and in April 1994 threatened to expel the inspectors and withdraw from the
The U.S. circulated petitions seeking U.N. sanctions and developed contingency plans for
military strikes on Yongbyon.
Then former President Jimmy Carter went to Pyongyang at the invitation of the North Koreans
and with President Clinton's approval. He persuaded the North Koreans to freeze nuclear
activities and open talks with Washington.
This led to a deal known as the Agreed Framework later in 1994. North Korea promised to shut
down Yongbyon and stop construction on two larger plutonium-producing reactors. It also
agreed not to reprocess the 8,000 irradiated rods it had withdrawn from the fuel core at
In return, Washington pledged to provide two light-water reactors to replace the mothballed
plutonium reactors and to donate 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually until the new
reactors started producing electricity.
Without the freeze, U.S. officials estimated that North Korea could have produced enough
plutonium for 60 to 100 bombs within a few years. But the deal did not answer the question
of how much plutonium North Korea had already reprocessed.
The IAEA inspectors remained to monitor the freeze at known nuclear sites, but were
forbidden to visit the dump or other suspicious locations.
As a result, the estimate byIAEA scientists that the North had enough plutonium for one or
two bombs in 1992 remains the best information. It is the foundation of the recent CIA
assessment that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, according to several former
IAEA officials, however, won't hazard a guess as to whether the North has actually made
"It would be irresponsible on our part to make any judgment," said Mohamed ElBaradei,
director-general of the IAEA. "We know they have enough spent fuel for at least a couple of
weapons. If they have reprocessed, then obviously they have enough plutonium for a number of
weapons, but we do not know."
Almost immediately after the Agreed Framework was negotiated, there were signs that North
Korea was violating the pact. Suspicions focused on craters from 100 nonnuclear explosive
tests identified by satellite.
A plutonium bomb requires an implosion of a fissionable shell into a critical mass. The U.S.
suspected the tests were to define implosion characteristics and perfect a detonator,
according to experts who viewed the intelligence reports.
There also were hints that North Korea was trying to develop uranium-enrichment facilities.
In early 2001, South Korean intelligence told the CIA that defectors and an agent in the
North claimed such a program had started a few years before, according to a senior foreign
intelligence officer and a U.S. official.
The preferred method of enriching uranium involves spinning uranium hexafluoride gas at high
speeds in specially designed centrifuges, slim cylinders about 5 feet high. The result is
enriched uranium that can fuel a reactor or, if processed into highly enriched uranium, or
HEU, can make a bomb.
The process requires years of development, but enriched uranium offers certain advantages.
For instance, reprocessing plutonium requires large facilities easily spotted by satellite.
Uranium enrichment, on the other hand, can be conducted in smaller facilities easily
concealed in tunnels or nondescript buildings. HEU is easier to smuggle than plutonium
because it's less radioactive and therefore less likely to be detected.
In June 2002, the CIA distributed a report to President Bush that stirred further concern.
It said Pakistan, in return for ballistic missiles, had given North Korea centrifuge
technology and data on how to build and test nuclear weapons based on enriched uranium.
Pakistan has denied providing the technology. The Bush administration has said any such
assistance has stopped.
In July 2002, the administration has said, it received intelligence that North Korea's
enrichment program was much larger than was earlier suspected.
The information indicated that North Korea was obtaining "many, many more" centrifuges than
previously thought, according to Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage's testimony
before a Senate committee last February. By September 2002, North Korea had "embarked on a
production program" for HEU, Armitage quoted an intelligence memo as stating.
Kelly, the assistant secretary of State, went to Pyongyang in early October 2002. He
confronted the North Koreans with the suspicions on the first day of talks. First Vice
Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju acknowledged that the government was working on enriching
uranium, according to U.S. officials.
The North Korean government denied that Kang made such an admission.
The Bush administration declared the Agreed Framework dead. North Korea retaliated by
kicking out the IAEA inspectors on New Year's Eve, disabling monitoring equipment at its
nuclear sites and announcing its withdrawal from the nonproliferation treaty.
The second North Korea nuclear crisis had started, but this time the international community
was without a window on the country.
The chief reason that many doubt the administration's conclusion that the North may soon
produce highly enriched uranium is that the enrichment plant has not been found.
"That plant could be anywhere or nowhere," said a senior foreign diplomat familiar with the
Gallucci, the Clinton administration negotiator, said North Korea is probably years, not
months, away from producing enough HEU for a weapon.
"If we are insisting on the North Koreans taking certain steps to give up this program, we
ought to know what we are asking them to do," said Gallucci, co-author of an upcoming book
on North Korea, "Going Critical."
Robert S. Norris, a nuclear expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington,
said it was unlikely that North Korea was close to producing more than a speck of highly
enriched uranium. He said similar mistakes had been made in overestimating Soviet military
power. "In the vacuum of ignorance, fear fills it up pretty fast," he said.
There is also skepticism about the plutonium reprocessing and North Korean technical
competence in general.
The U.S. said in March that the regime could produce "significant plutonium" within six
months. But a senior foreign intelligence official told The Times that technical
difficulties had recently stopped the reprocessing.
Some experts argue that despite doubts about the CIA's assessments, the mere prospect of
nuclear arms in the hands of an unpredictable, militarized regime requires a tough response.
North Korea is desperate for cash to feed its population of 22 million and maintain its
million-man army. Its chief source of hard currency is selling missiles and related
technology to such countries as Iran and Libya. U.S. intelligence officials said North Korea
also earns tens of millions of dollars a year selling heroin and other drugs on the
Some suggest that trafficking in atomic weapons is a logical next step.
"North Korea is completely amoral, internationally adrift and desperate for dollars," said
Joseph Cirincione, director of the nonproliferation project at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington. "For the United States, the No. 1 concern is not that
North Korea would attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, but that it would sell a nuclear
weapon to someone who would."
Others said there is no evidence of contacts between North Korea and terrorists and that
Pyongyang recognizes selling nuclear material or weapons could provoke U.S. retaliation on a
scale its people have feared for 50 years.
"Nobody can cross the red line," said the senior foreign intelligence official. "That would
Times staff writer Barbara Demick in Seoul contributed to this report.
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