US Intel Doubts North Korea Weapons Test Was Successful

Officials think it was part of an anti-tank weapon

Wednesday’s statement from the North Korean state media about a mysterious “tactical” weapons test for which Kim Jong Un was present has been the subject of a lot of speculation. US officials are now saying they don’t think the test was successful.

North Korea described the test as a “tactical” weapon with a powerful warhead and a new guidance system. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the US did not believe it was a ballistic missile, which was implied in it being a tactical weapon in the first place.

There is no proper evidence that the test failed, and rather the US intelligence community’s assessment is based on them believing that the test was an anti-tank weapon of some sort, and them not detecting a successful test of an anti-tank weapon.

Which means the whole US conclusion is only true if their initial assumptions were also true. That’s a big if, as North Korea was vague enough about what was being tested that it could be practically anything.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of