Pacific News Minute: Reports: Kim Jong Nam A “CIA Informant”

Jun 12, 2019

Credit Roman Harak / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

A new book and the Wall Street Journal independently report that Kim Jong Nam was a CIA informant. The half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was assassinated in Malaysia two years ago.

Despite Pyongyang’s denials, who carried out the elaborate murder plot has never been in doubt. But there have been questions about why. Kim Jong Nam was a shadowy figure when he was killed, a long-time resident of Macau with connections to the casino industry and no apparent threat to his half-brother. 

Now, The Wall Street Journal cites an unnamed source for its report that Kim Jong Nam travelled to Malaysia in 2017 to meet his CIA contact.  As he waited to board a plane back to Macau, two women smeared his face with the banned nerve agent, VX.

In her new book “The Great Successor,” Anna Fifield (the Beijing bureau chief of The Washington Post) writes that on Kim’s last visit to Kuala Lumpur, security camera footage showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man said to be an American intelligence agent. Kim’s backpack contained 120,000 dollars cash. The Wall Street Journal cited American officials who said that Kim was almost certainly in contact with Chinese intelligence as well, but doubted the value of his information.

In a separate story, a South Korean NGO interviewed 610 North Korean defectors who identified 318 sites where the North Korean government carried out public executions, most by firing squad, some by hanging.

According to the Transitional Justice Working Group, crowds of a thousand or more witnessed executions for crimes ranging from stealing a cow to watching South Korean TV.