The mystery of a raid on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, Spain, last month appears to have been officially solved. On Tuesday, revolutionary group Free Joseon claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Washington Post. This comes weeks after it was reported that they were suspected to have been the culprits by several news outlets in both Spain and America.
The group, which works for the overthrow of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, “tied up staff and escaped with computers and other items” during the break-in, per the publication. They have now stated that at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they have handed over the information they uncovered from the heist.
“This information was shared voluntarily and on their request, not our own,” they said, adding that the information could have “enormous potential value.”
Despite their assurance that the information was handed over at the request of the FBI, it is believed that it was Free Joseon that contacted the bureau to set up the meeting in the first place.
Formerly known as the Cheollima Civil Defense, Free Joseon also used their statement to deny that the raid was an “attack” that involved “armed intruders,” despite many reports in Spain that they had violently beaten the staff.
“This was not an attack. We responded to an urgent situation in the Madrid embassy. We were invited into the embassy, and contrary to reports, no one was gagged or beaten. Out of respect for the host nation of Spain, no weapons were used. All occupants in the embassy were treated with dignity and necessary caution,” they stated, according to CNN.
Mysterious group claims responsibility for brazen raid on North Korean Embassy https://t.co/8VwdNvtQTI— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 27, 2019
They also exonerated all governments of responsibility with their statement, claiming no one outside of the group had prior knowledge of the raid. It is thought they contacted the FBI a few days after they carried out the heist.
Free Joseon claimed responsibility after three different nationals, an American, a Mexican, and a South Korean were blamed for the attack. Judge José de la Mata further stated that he believed the perpetrators of the raid had fled to the United States after they had carried out the planned attack.
The group has declined to share any more information about the raid or the intelligence stolen at this point, citing the need to “protect those who seek our help, and those who take great risk to protect others” as the reason they need to keep it secret for the time being. Whether or not the information will be made public at a later date once the FBI has taken a fine-toothed comb through it is unknown.
Given their goal of getting rid of the North Korean dictator, their motive makes complete sense if they have handed over information to authorities who could potentially do something about his leadership. They have also stated that there was no agreement for monetary compensation for carrying out the raid, which adds up if it was carried out without prior knowledge by any government or any other group.
Even with the information in the hands of the FBI, it may prove difficult to act on it given that the North Korean leader doesn’t actually appear to answer to anyone, including U.S. President Donald Trump, despite two meetings with the Commander in Chief.