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North Korea Threat Analysis: Kim Family Dynasty Rule of North Korea

Bob Budahl



North Korea is and will continue to be a threat for the immediate future. The U.S. Intelligence Services, Military troops and Facilities, Naval forces and ports, Air Force, Essential Infrastructure, Civilian intellectual property and technology are targeted for exploitation. High Priority Cyber Warfare by N.K. targeting on both Military and Civilian Targets will continue.

Although we have achieved some level of success stopping and eliminating Cyber intrusions. Also, diplomatic relations have warmed slightly in recent events. Focus should be given to De-Nuclearizing North Korea and gaining an official end to the Korean War. Both factors coupled with a gradual lifting of trade bans and economic aid from the U.S. could potentially de-escalate the threat posed by North Korea.

With a dictatorship in place of North Korea, Kim Jong-un wields the resources of the Country at his own discretion. He neglects the people and economic conditions and instead focuses on military strength, intelligence capabilities and isolating the country from the outside world. He trusts no one. The intelligence structure does its best to exploit us via cybermethods.

And HUMINT is used to their best capability. He can lash out militarily at a moments’ notice with ICBM attacks with widely held beliefs that he can reach US territories and most likely the continental U.S.

He could also attack U.S. Forces across the 38thparallel and even without using nuclear weapons it would be horrific. With his agents in South Korea it would be relatively easy for him to perpetrate attacks against U.S. installations and manpower in South Korea. This is one of our largest concerns as if He decides to enact action against South Korea and the United States, he is well placed in S.K. and we could be completely taken by surprise by emplaced forces including operatives’ with The Reconnaissance Bureau. He also would likely simultaneous strike out within cells in the U.S. against Military facilities and personnel. He could also target civilians. His intelligence, clandestine, military and even nuclear options are formidable. He rules with rigid commands and total authority. The small amount of imagery and media that comes out of North Korea from the country show an adoration of the leader and the population tends to accept his authority and presence regardless of the poor economic conditions.

A strong sense of pride in the Military strength is present and the leader takes every step to ensure continuation of the Kim lineage in power. He utilizes the Intelligence service named the Reconnaissance Bureau as one of his tools to exert his power and influence of the entire nation and gathering intelligence on adversaries. It is the sole decision making ability of Kim which is such a danger not only to the United States but the world.“The Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) is North Korea’s primary foreign intelligence service and is responsible for collection and clandestine operations. The RGB comprises six bureaus with compartmented functions, including operations, reconnaissance, technology and cyber capabilities, overseas intelligence, inter-Korean talks, and service support.”

The Reconnaissance Bureau is located in Pyongyang. In this2010 article Lieutenant General Kim Yong-cho is identified as head of the Reconnaissance Bureau. According to Joseph S. Bermudez Jr the intelligence and security services in North Korea were reorganized 2009-2010 with all intelligence and security forces falling into control of the National Defense Commission. (NDC)

Kim family dynasty reign includes the Grandfather-Kim il-Sung,(original name Kim Song-Ju) succeeded by his son-Kim Jong il and continuing on with his son and current leader Kim Jong-un. I will discuss later the importance North Korea places on continuation of the family in power.

The Reconnaissance Bureau is brutal and even targets its own people. That included an attempted assassination of a high ranking official with the Korean Worker’s Party KWP Secretary Hwang Jang-yop by two Reconnaissance General Bureau Operatives which were Kim Yong-ho and Dong Myong-gwan and that action was taken against a South Korean Military vessel.[i]According to sources Kim Jong iL’s half-brother Kim Jong-Nam survived an assassination attempt in 2012, then pleaded in a letter to the leader begging for his life. He was assassinated a few years later in Malaysia.

The Reconnaissance Bureau resembles the CIA in its desired functions and conducts comprehensive intelligence primarily focusing on South Korea and the United States. The RGB or Reconnaissance Bureau is rumored to have 60,000 trained commandos with some of them trained in attacking large cities and nuclear facilities. Some of the commandos might have even been stationed in the U.S. during the 1990s. Our Human Intelligence officers are a priority for their recruiters and a defector Kang Myong-do indicated there may be hundreds of North Korean operatives working within our country at any given time.

William R. Evanina-Director for NCSC synthesizes our dilemma as with all the openness and freedoms we have in essence is what makes us vulnerable to Foreign Intelligence threats, intrusions and manipulations of our great Country. From the NCSC’s report the primary objectives of Foreign Intelligence Entities is to gain access to our decision-making apparatus and Intelligence organizations. Likely targets include our Counterintelligence operations, cyber-threats, physical threats to official U.S. Government facilities and personnel, supply chain threats, intellectual property and technologies, and U.S. Critical Infrastructure. The vast number of potential targets within the Critical Infrastructure is a serious and very dangerous situation that we must take immediate action to protect and safeguard. Some of these targets can include our nuclear facilities, communications networks, government facilities, financial services, information technology, dams, transportation systems, water and wastewater facilities, food and agriculture industry, energy facilities, emergency services, defense industry, healthcare, critical manufacturing and chemical facilities. These targets would be a crippling action on our nation..

Our space system has long provided us with a technological edge over our adversaries that allows us to conduct warfare in the manner we do-with focus, accuracy, acquiring vast amounts of information which some countries lack the technology and capability to achieve.

Capabilities once reserved for the Big 3 nations is now a threat from emerging countries. These include North Korea. Jamming, intrusion or destruction of our space satellites and technologies would be crippling and is a very real threat. Kinetic means of hitting the satellite or device, non kinetic ways such as lasers, microwave or an electronic pulse can wreak havoc on our assets. A nuclear explosion in space emits extreme radiation which hastens the life of a satellite. Cyber-attacks are attainable by a lessor means that some other attacks. “There is some evidence that North Korea may be developing or has already acquired non-kinetic physical counter space weapons such as a nuclear EMP device.” They are also known to have electronic means of interfering with satellites and have already been accused of jamming GPS and suspected other targets. General Vincent Brooks noted that North Korea’s cyber-attacks are some of the best in the world.

Communication services are a high probability and are very vulnerable to attack. We will be able to recover if attacked but it will require an organized effort by the government with interaction and cooperation with private sector. North Korea has agents specially trained in attack of installations such as Nuclear facilities and Government buildings. If an official attack were ordered probability is high they would achieve some success. Even though we are susceptible to this kind of attack I doubt that it would be carried out.

Financial Services including the Federal Reserve Bank and electronic Bank capabilities is possible and if their hacking skills have acquired access prior to an attack it could possibly happen but is unlikely.

Transportations systems would most likely be targeted and are at high risk of being interrupted. We can recover well from an attack fairly quickly in this area. Defense Industries have security procedures and practices and would be moderately vulnerable, with low probability of attack since a conflict with North Korea would be very brief. Recovery though would require rebuilding the facilities. I do not feel our Dams are at danger of attack from North Korea, including in all-out war.

It would require bombing, rockets or other sabotage. Our water and wastewater facilities are at high vulnerability but low probability of attack. I think this would be considered an action taken in a long-term conflict and a conflict with North Korea would not be sustainable by them for any period of length, The food and agriculture industry are very susceptible to attack but again would only be undertaken in a long term and sustained attack, which North Korea will never have the ability to conduct.

Energy facilities are also extremely vulnerable but low as a probably for attack. They would be considered a target in mid to long term conflict of which North Korea will never have the capability of. If an attack did take place though, it would have a significant crippling effect and it would be difficult to recover from. It would involve rebuilding infrastructure.

Critical manufacturing is very vulnerable but low probability of risk. Chemical facilities have moderate risk of attack which correlate to toxicity and contamination risks. If mass contamination is possible it might be theorized. It would be low on the priority list of targets.

Healthcare would be extremely vulnerable but low probability of occurrence. Recovery time would be moderate.

The Director of National Intelligence in a 2017 report noted that North Korea has chemical weapons and knowledge of biological weapons. They are known to have provided missile and other information to other countries, including Iran. They continue to progress on ICBM development. The United States is estimated at having 6550 nuclear warheads whileNorth Korea has approximately 15.According to “CNN” North Korea has tested an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland. It was fired high into the atmosphere during the test but if on a flatter trajectory would reach well into the US. It is unclear if they have the “complete package” to conduct a nuclear armed ICBM launch, but it might already exist. This is very dangerous.

The Military Threat is the overall power projection which Kim holds to threaten and bully his adversaries. The Nuclear threat appears to be real but even with this method of mass destruction his only objective could be to cause death and destruction to what extent he is able.

And he might be able to inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties. Possibly millions. But we have vastly significant forces that would retaliate and defeat them decisively. The threat of a nuclear attack by him on us or our allies is small unless he does not possess sane mental capacity. It is also likely we would survive and recover from a nuclear strike and they would not.

I am an educated professional with 3 college programs of which my latest is in Counterintelligence through American Military University. I am a former Bank Mgr. I hold a Real Estate license. I am a Citizen of the United States.

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Transnational Crimes in the Maritime Realm

Zaeem Hassan Mehmood



Maritime trafficking routes closely follow the commercial shipping lanes. The modalities, technologies and strategies put into place by criminals are often times more sophisticated in caliber than those used in regulated trade. The vast expanses of the sea, the complexity of the maritime transportation system, the immense volume of cargo transferred at each port, and the limited capacity for inspections of cargo creates opportunity for criminals. Seaborne trade in the maritime realm follows a defined set of “sea lines of communication” based on currents and weather. Because of the robustness of shipping and mass amounts of cargo moved, traffickers utilize the same shipping industry routes with great effect. Shipping and sea lanes tend to offer anonymity for criminals, whereas their activities can be hidden behind legitimate industries. Criminal activity, especially illicit trade in narcotics, humans, and weapons, has become so extensive that it is difficult according to various studies to rule out implications of states and corporations in the criminal enterprise.

Individuals from various nationalities, followed by multiple vessels flagged to different states, adds the UN Drug Trade Report 2019, are used in the networks which transit the waters of various states and call at different ports before reaching their final destination. Despite the abundance of laws designed to combat illicit trafficking and an apparent impetus to stop specific types of crime, government’s remains only marginally successful in preventing the global flow of illegal goods due to the overwhelming volume and complexity of the markets for illicit trade. Working in tandem, the maritime forces nevertheless have made successful efforts to disrupt the illicit supply chains as a result of sea-based security operations; cooperation and collaboration between law enforcement organizations.

Nevertheless, legal complexity arises as the high seas “fall outside the jurisdiction of any single state” under the United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ocean space is to be collectively policed by all states governed by principles of Freedom of navigation. Piracy and the illicit trafficking of narcotics, humans, and weapons comprise the main varieties of transnational crime. UNCLOS addresses these matter of concern in the realm of the sea, where various articles provide guidance in order to curb or limit the threats. Article 110 expounds the customary rule that warships may “approach and visit” on the high seas “any ship that is suspected of piracy, human trafficking, unauthorized broadcasting; and is without nationality”; or, “is flying a foreign flag or refusing to show its flag.” Article 111 addresses the right of “hot pursuit”, allowing warships of one state to follow a vessel through the different maritime zones of the ship if based on “reasonable grounds,” it is suspected of illegal activity.

Narcotics Trafficking

UNCLOS under Article 108 empowers states to cooperate and offer assistance to suppress drug trafficking by other state-flagged vessels. Traditionally, drug traffickers used overland routes, but since last two decades, they have shifted transportation into the “Indo-Pacific Ocean”. The majority of this trafficking has proliferated in the littoral regions, and often within territorial waters. In the latter years, advancement in technologies, providing for larger ships have allowed traffickers to move further into the sea to capitalize “blue water” areas, outside the 12-nautical mile mark and at times further than the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of any country. It is a documented fact that U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs, also according to various studies the source and transit zones of drug trafficking between South America and the U.S despite high patrols on the border.

Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea

Piracy has been one of the most ancient forms of maritime crime that is treated rigorously under the provisions of UNCLOS. Article 101 defines piracy as “any illegal act of violence or detention, any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or passengers of a private ship or private aircraft on the high seas against another ship or aircraft, outside the jurisdiction of any state.” The latter parts highlights an important aspect that piracy is a type of transnational crime conducted by non-state actors in international waters. Article 105 of UNCLOS grants everystate the authority to seize any vessel, associated property and to arrest any persons engaged in piracy. Domestic courts of the state conducting the seizure have the mandate prosecute the pirates under domestic law and determine what to do with the vessels; however, to date the courts remain inadequate or unsupported in many places.

Piracy became a security issue of international concern since the last decade and half, primarily in the Horn of Africa, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea largely due to weak patrolling and sea blindness by the littoral states of the region. However, to an extent order at sea has been maintained with the presence Combined Task Force-151(CTF-151), focused on counter-piracy, and Combined Task Force-150 (CTF-150) to combat illicit activities at sea. Supported by several U.N. Security Council Resolutions, these task forces have “engaged with regional partners to build capacity and improve capabilities to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.” 

Piracy in the Asia-Pacific remains a matter of concern, however most of the incidents are underreported and those reported are of such small scale that they cloud the assessment of major piracy events. In the region, although piracy has been contained in the eastern region of Africa whereas it has proliferated in the western Africa around the Gulf of Guinea. This subject-matter experts conclude is a result of an increased trafficking in narcotics from Latin America, along with the various other illicit elements involving illegal fishing and human trafficking. The increased in piracy is a reminder for states that piracy remains a persistent and widespread challenge to maritime security. The recent activities in Somalia and Yemen foreshadow a resurgence of piracy in the region, encouraged by trafficking of light weapons and small arms, along with non-state actor’s unprecedented access to ship monitoring, tracking devices, and use of unmanned systems and long range communications.


United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) identifies only certain types of transnational crime that affect maritime security, but there are many varieties and combinations of criminal activity that affect security and safety from the high seas to internal waters. Domestic laws however need be brought in line with international law, and cooperative partnerships between the states, law enforcement, and militaries to combat illicit activity needs to transcend the morass of politics that are often a hurdle in the way of more comprehensive legal regimes. It is recommended that information and intelligence sharing, along with TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) need to be employed by the maritime forces to ensure freedom of the seas. UNCLOS provides a strong framework and multilateral efforts to deter criminal activity at sea for a more secure, safer operating environment for all. However, it is the difficulty in effective prosecution and applying of an equitable punishment to the culprits, involved in piracy, human trafficking and illicit drugs that must serve as a reminder to all states that much awaits for an all-inclusive solution.

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Fighting Corporate Espionage by a Counterintelligence Agent

Bob Budahl



Corporate executives must bear the responsibility of today’s evolving corporate world entering into a global community where not only are the exposures to such a wide market area lucrative to an already thriving business, but also to a grave danger of the companies’ trade and technology secrets, systems, financial accounts and much more. No longer is “Security” to the facility and personnel all that is required. Many foreign countries and interests take short cuts to becoming competitive through the theft of trade secrets, products and overt and covert espionage of all sorts. Some of these entities are now facing a growing challenge from United States corporations with safeguarding of commercial information, proprietary information, and economic factors.

Many of the tactics utilized in private sector counterintelligence have much in common with the secrets and information the government does its best to safeguard from theft of foreign governments or non-traditional actor threats. The FBI estimates U.S. Corporations lose over $100 billion annually. There are open and legal methods of collection open that are harmful and a good counterintelligence program should target this as well as illegal activities such as electronic eavesdropping, hacking, etc. Passive counterintelligence tries to curtail what a collector may do through countermeasures, and awareness training. Active counterintelligence will prove beneficial to identify and detect a threat, and will conduct operations including eliminating threats or ongoing targeting. A mitigation policy should be of avail. After an attack it may raise shareholder concern which needs to be quelled quickly. Quick realization of a threat and implementing action promptly and efficiently can stop immeasurable damage.

The leaders in the private sector need to be proactive and realize that it is no longer only local threats they face. The threats can be global and may not only be an economic threat but also a threat to national security. In the U.S. private sector ties to the Defense, Intelligence and other government entities can be vast with a great deal of interplay and interconnectedness. Also, corporations do not employ many of the safeguards put in place by the defense and other government departments. Compartmentation, clearance, and many operations taken for granted in the government aren’t serving the corporate structures well-being at all or as well as it should be. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996, Title 18, Sections 1831 and 1832 of the U.S. Code covers economic espionage and also if they are considered trade theft prosecutions.

Where once economic espionage meant directly infiltrating a company or recruiting an employee within the corporation our biggest challenge today is cyber espionage. In reality secrets and information are stolen often and not even known they were taken. And a much less chance of apprehension. Cybercrimes operate in a stealth mode in many ways, but in a contrast way can be identified and detected and countered with effective counterintelligence methods. The U.S. economy has changed over the past 20 years. “Intellectual capital rather than physical assets now represent the bulk of a U.S. corporation’s value.”

With the growth of cybercrimes including corporate espionage some tips for safeguarding and thwarting foreign hostile intrusions include

Conduct real-time monitoring of networks and retaining access records

Software tools for content mgt., data loss prevention, network forensics

Encrypt data on servers

Utilize multi-factor authentication measures such as biometrics, PINS, passwords

Mobility policy in which measures are developed to oversee which connections can and cannot be made to corporate systems

Limits on social networking

Establish contingency plans

Many others

When deciding to emplace a counterintelligence program to safeguard a corporation the first stepis to conduct a risk assessment by assessing vulnerabilities and estimating the consequences of losing critical assets. This should be headed up by a board member or senior executive.

Then move to step two in which groundwork is laid for establishing a corporate counterintelligence program. Hire a manager dedicated to counterintelligence. Hook up the company’s security, intelligence assurance, general counsel and HR departments. Develop liaison with government law and intelligence. Ensure centralized management of the counterintelligence program. And have legal counsel provide guidance on the counterintelligence program actions.

Identify the Capabilities needed

Threat awareness and training

Analysis, Reporting and Response

Suspicious activity reporting

Counterintelligence Audit

Counterintelligence Investigations.


Implement the Counterintelligence Program

A basic counterintelligence program description will look something like this: PM (Program Manager) interplay such as:

PM develops and implements CI program

PM oversees a centralized CI Program office

PM maintains insight into all corporate elements

PM is responsible for liaison with US Government

Security officers responsible for tactical CI

PM provides CI guidance through training programs

Also be aware that not only high tech companies are targeted since the targeted information they seek may be deemed important by who is doing the shopping.

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Where does allegiance lie?

Bob Budahl



Dongfan “Greg” Chung who is a native of China and a naturalized U.S. Citizen had “secret” security clearance while working with Rockwell and Boeing Corporations on the Space Shuttle project. He had retired in 2002 but returned a year later as a contractor until fall 2006. The government proved Chung committed espionage by taking and concealing Boeing secrets regarding the Delta IV rocket and also the Space Shuttle. He did this for the People’s Republic of China. He was convicted on charges of acting as an agent of the PRC as well as economic espionage.

The investigation of a different engineer working within the U.S is what led to Chung’s investigation and resulting conviction. He was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

The Chinese had sent letters requesting information as far back as 1979. In correspondence with the PRC Chung expressed his wishes to help the PRC modernize. He also sent 24 manuals related to the important B-1 Bomberfrom Rockwell Corporation which was very damaging.

Travel trips to the People’s Republic of China occurred on multiple occasions to lecture but he also met with government officials. In letters from his handlers they use his wife Rebecca and Chi Mak to transmit information. In the fall of 2006 FBI and NASA agents searched his home and discovered more than 250,000 documents from Boeing, Rockwell and others which were secret.

The Shuttle Drawing System or “SDS” that Rockwell and Boeing engineers created held information regarding performing processes regarding the Space Shuttle. The engineers need a password and authorization to be able to access this system and files. This is a clear case that defensive counterintelligence measures could have prevented printing, concealment and removal of documents from the workplace. One great example of offensive counterespionage was the search of Chung’s trash which led to much revealing evidence.Also his extensive travel to the PRC was an indicator that his scope of activities while in the PRC were above speaking engagements, seminars, teaching, personal. The authorities did conduct offensive counterintelligence to the best of their abilities once it learned via the other agent implicated in similar dealings with the PRC.

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