And then there are the reports of North Korea expert and political scientist Bruce Bechtol, a former senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, whose new book The Last Days of Kim Jong Il includes a full chapter on North Korea and Support for Terrorism. Bechtol argues that “North Korea has shown throughout its history that it is intent on engaging in rogue behavior and providing support for terrorism.” At a seminar this week in Washington, at the Heritage Foundation, he charged — as this Chosun Ilbo account details — that among North Korea’s terrorist clients are Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Somalia’s al-Shabab, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and al Qaeda.
Apparently, none of that is sufficient to qualify for the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring states. Instead, the State Department’s latest country report on North Korea — which totals four short paragraphs — says that the DPRK “is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987.”
Not that State is entirely happy with North Korea. The report notes that North Korea in 2012 was “not cooperating fully” with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and in the matter of setting up infrastructure to fight money laundering and terrorism financing, North Korea “appeared to have made little meaningful progress…” (They’ve got to be kidding. This is on a par with professing disappointment that John Wayne Gacy failed to comply with local building codes).
Perhaps State is waiting for North Korea to come up with its own, dedicated, known international terrorist group — rather than relying on in-house talent to run networks selling training, munitions, and missile and nuclear technology to the stars. But surely North Korea has done more than enough for the world’s terrorist rackets to earn its own place on the list of state sponsors. Why not give Pyongyang its due?