The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, made a rare public appearance at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for the “Intelligence beyond 2018: A conversation with CIA Director Mike Pompeo” forum. Pompeo communicated a desire to resolve the standoff with North Korea using diplomatic means but did not leave out an option for U.S. President Donald Trump to order a pre-emptive strike against the regime in Pyongyang.
Pompeo stated to Marc Thiessen of the AEI, “The president is intent on delivering a solution through diplomatic means… We are equally, at the same time, ensuring that if we conclude that is not possible, that we present the president with a range of options that can achieve his stated intention.”
Pompeo voiced the belief that the Kim Jong-Un will not just use his nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to preserve the sovereignty of the North Korean nation, but instead as a dangerous means to unify the entire Korean peninsula under his dictatorial rule. Pompeo stated, “we do believe he would use these toolsets beyond self-preservation.” Pompeo concludes that Kim Jong-Un is a “rational actor” in his mindset. Pompeo also cautioned that the previous successful tests of ICBMs by North Korea were a necessary step to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons capable of striking the United States from different launch points simultaneously.
Of the purported deep state weary President Trump, Pompeo disclosed, “I have seen 25-year intelligence professional receive briefings. I would tell you that President Trump is the kind of recipient of our information at the same level that they are.”
Pompeo stopped short of overtly offering a recommendation for striking North Korea at the forum stating he would “leave to others to address the capacity or the wisdom of a preemptive strike. From an intelligence perspective, we’re trying to ensure that all the various options that the president might want to consider are fully informed, that we understand what’s really going on and the risks associated with each of those decisions as best we can identify them for him.”
The Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 8, 2018, in PyeongChang, South Korea. North Korea will be sending athletes to participate in the global sporting event. Some geopolitical analyst welcome it as a necessary reprieve from the ongoing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Others view it as the calm before the storm, with the tempest being a post-Olympic U.S. military pre-emptive strike on North Korea.
Pompeo ultimately summarized his analysis of the North Korea nuclear program saying, “this is a threat to the whole world.”