Trump Would Oppose Using CIA Informants Against North Korea’s Kim

'I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices, that's for sure'

President Trump has responded to reports earlier this week that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s slain half-brother Kim Jong Nam had worked as a CIA informant before his 2017 murder, saying he would never allow that to happen while he is in office.

Trump told reports on the South Lawn that when he speaks to Kim “I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.”

Technically, it already did. Kim Jong Nam was killed in Malaysia in February 2017, after Trump took office, and it is believed he flew to Malaysia to meet with his CIA contact. While the CIA’s use of him started before Trump took over, it clearly didn’t end with his election.

In reality, Trump likely believes that disavowing this tactic against Kim would be a way to try to gain his favor in future talks. Diplomatic progress with North Korea in 2018 was significant, but has all but halted in 2019. Trump has remained confident he will make more progress with Kim, with whom he seems to have quite the rapport.

Trump’s comments are already being criticized by Obama-era officials, suggesting that he is weakening the CIA by rejecting the idea of using such sources against Kim Jong Un.

Where Trump would actually prevent the CIA doing so, however, is less clear, and likely beside the point. Instead, the comments reveal that the president is interested in offering some sort of olive branch to Kim, apparently backing away at least slightly from the “maximum pressure” stance.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.