When George W. Bush became president, as best the on-site monitors of the International Atomic Energy Agency could determine, the North Koreans were in total compliance with The Agreed Framework Between the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea [.pdf].
In 1992, at the insistence of the Russians, the DPRK had begun negotiations with the IAEA on a Safeguards Agreement, as required of them by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but soon got into a dispute with the IAEA as to whether they were accurately characterizing the NPT proscribed materials they were declaring.
The IAEA asked to do chemical assays and the Koreans refused.
IAEA Director-General Hans Blix brought the dispute to the IAEA Board of Governors who, in turn, reported it to the UN Security Council for possible action, as the IAEA Statute requires.
The DPRK immediately gave notice (as the NPT provides for) of its intention to withdraw from the NPT.
Well, that would never do.
President Clinton was hell-bent on getting every country to not only become an NPT signatory but to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
So in 1994, after lengthy negotiations, President Clinton persuaded North Korea to sign the Agreed Framework, under which North Korea agreed (a) to remain a signatory to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, (b) to shut down its 5 MW Plutonium-239 producing reactor, (c) to shut down its spent-fuel Plutonium-239 recovery facilities, (d) to abandon construction of its 50 MW and 200 MW Plutonium-239 producing reactors, and (e) to place all its existing nuclear materials including the Plutonium-239 contained in spent fuel elements under lock and seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
But, according to a January 20, 2003 article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine, in January of 2002,
“John Bolton, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control, declared that North Korea had a covert nuclear-weapons program and was in violation of the nonproliferation treaty.
“In February, the President was urged by three members of Congress to withhold support for the two reactors promised to North Korea, on the ground that the Pyongyang government was said to be operating a secret processing site ‘for the enrichment of uranium.’
“In May, Bolton again accused North Korea of failing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the group responsible for monitoring treaty compliance.
Hersh further reported that in June, 2002, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet delivered to President Bush a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, containing “Sensitive Compartmented Information” which “assessed” that surprise, surprise North Korea had been violating both the NPT and the Agreed Framework.
The NIE alleged that Koreans had been attempting for several years with Pakistani assistance to acquire a Uranium-235 nuke production capability.
“In 1997, according to the C.I.A. report, Pakistan began paying for missile systems from North Korea in part by sharing its nuclear-weapons secrets.
“According to the report, Pakistan sent prototypes of high-speed centrifuge machines to North Korea. And sometime in 2001 North Korean scientists began to enrich uranium in significant quantities.
“Pakistan also provided data on how to build and test a uranium-triggered nuclear weapon, the C.I.A. report said.
“Pakistan helped North Korea conduct a series of “cold tests,” simulated nuclear explosions, using natural uranium, which are necessary to determine whether a nuclear device will detonate properly.
So, what did Bush do with this “Special Compartmented Information”? Nothing, unless you count a Bolton munchkin not being fired after confronting a DPRK mid-level weenie with it at a cocktail party in September.
Boltons munchkin reported back that the DPRK weenie “admitted” that they did, indeed, have a secret Uranium-235 nuke weapon program.
When this “admission” was leaked to and published by neocrazy media sycophants, the DPRK immediately officially denied it. And continue to deny it.
So did the Pakistanis, although in his recently published autobiography Pakistani General-President-Dictator Pervez Musharraf did acknowledge that
“Dr. A.Q. Khan transferred nearly two dozen P-I and P-II centrifuges to North Korea. He also provided North Korea with a flow meter, some special oils for centrifuges and coaching on centrifuge technology, including visits to top-secret centrifuge plants.” (p. 294).
Now, neither the acceptance of Pakistani centrifuges nor visits to Pakistani centrifuge plants were violations of the NPT nor the Agreed Framework.
In fact, as of this writing, there is no evidence whatsoever that the North Koreans violated the Agreed Framework which Bush unilaterally abrogated in November, 2002 or the NPT, from which North Korea withdrew in January 2003 as a direct result of Bushs abrogation.
Nevertheless, Neocrazy Media Sycophant David Sanger reported on the back pages of the New York Times the test of the DPRK Plutonium-239 nuke test thusly;
“The intelligence agencies finding that the weapon was based on plutonium strongly suggested that the countrys second path to a nuclear bomb one using uranium was not yet ready. The uranium program is based on enrichment equipment and know-how purchased from Pakistans former nuclear chief.
What it ought to strongly suggest is that Bolton and the 2002 SCI NIE on North Koreas Uranium-235 program were both wrong. The most probable reason for the IAEA and our intelligence agencies being unable to find any evidence of North Koreas Uranium-235 nuke program is that it doesnt exist.
Now, bear in the mind that the principal benefit North Korea sought and got under the Agreed Framework was the promise that an American president would never attack or threaten to attack them with nuclear weapons.
And recall that Bush unilaterally abrogated the Agreed Framework.
Now read this totally outrageous assertion by Neocrazy Media Sycophant Sanger;
“Unlike the Clinton administration in 1994, the current Bush administration chose not to threaten to destroy North Koreas fuel and nuclear reprocessing facilities if they tried to make weapons.”