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How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea

The C.I.A. and other American intelligence services had predicted this moment would come, eventually. For decades, they accurately projected the broad trajectory of North Korea’s nuclear program. Yet their inability to foresee the North’s rapid strides over the past several months now ranks among America’s most significant intelligence failures, current and former officials said in recent interviews.That disconnect — they saw it coming, but got the timing wrong — helps explain the confusion, mixed signals and alarm that have defined how Mr. Trump’s untested national security team has responded to the nuclear crisis.In an interview, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, acknowledged that Mr. Kim’s race to the finish line — a bid to establish the North as a nuclear power before any negotiations begin or sanctions take a more punishing toll — “has been quicker and the timeline is a lot more compressed than most people believed.”As a result, he argued, “we have to do everything we are doing with a greater degree of urgency, and we have to accelerate our own efforts to resolve the issue short of conflict.”Senior intelligence officials said they began investing more heavily in acquiring information on North Korea’s weapons program in 2012, reaping benefits over the past two years […]

The World Celebrates New Year’s Eve

Supported byWorldThe World Celebrates New Year’s EvePhotoCredit David Moir/European Pressphoto AgencyIn Sydney, rainbow fireworks sparkled off the Harbour Bridge in celebration of Australia’s recent legalization of gay marriage. (Sydney was among the first major cities to celebrate with fireworks at the stroke of midnight.)Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Kim Kyung-Hoon/ReutersIn Japan, people paraded in fox masks to attend the first prayer of the year at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit KCNA, via ReutersFireworks over Pyongyang, North Korea.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Erik De Castro/ReutersIn the Philippines, revelers gathered — phones in hand — at the Eastwood Mall in Manila to watch balloons and confetti rain down at midnight.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Ng Han Guan/Associated PressBig pots of tea were prepared for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Beijing. The country will also celebrate the Lunar New Year, in February.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Edgar Su/ReutersIt was raining in Singapore, but New Year’s Eve celebrants sheltered under umbrellas and raincoats as fireworks sparkled overhead.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Sadiq Asyraf/Associated PressContinue reading the main storyTourists donned party hats to watch fireworks in front of the famous Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Darren Whiteside/ReutersHundreds of couples got married at a mass wedding in Jakarta on New Year’s Eve.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Louisa Gouliamaki/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesFireworks light up the Acropolis in Athens during the New Year’s Eve celebration.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Jeenah Moon for The New York TimesRevelers in Times Square vie for scarfs from volunteers as they await the ball drop.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Mahmoud Khaled/European Pressphoto AgencyThe Burj Khalifa was lit in anticipation of the New Year’s celebration in Dubai.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Denis Tyrin/Associated PressPeople captured the moment as fireworks exploded over the Kremlin in Moscow.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Gulshan Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesMembers of the Maasai tribe performed their traditional dance on Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Leon Neal/Getty ImagesFireworks exploded over Big Ben and the London Eye Ferris wheel.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Thibault Camus/Associated PressPeople celebrated in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Nigel Roddis/European Pressphoto AgencyIn Allendale, England, residents carried barrels of burning tar on their heads as part of a traditional New Year’s Eve parade dating back to 1858.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Johnny Milano for The New York TimesThousands braved single-digit temperatures in New York ahead of the traditional ball drop.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Leo Correa/Associated PressCopacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro was bathed in fireworks.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Jeenah Moon for The New York TimesRevelers wearing 2018 glasses gathered in Times Square.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Rodrigo Garrido/ReutersA pyrotechnic show illuminated the skies above Valparaíso, Chile.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Johnny Milano for The New York TimesPeople celebrated the new year in Times Square early Monday.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Jeenah Moon for The New York TimesA couple kissed in Time Square as 2017 turned into 2018.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau, via Associated PressKey West, Fla., was jammed as the drag entertainer known as Sushi descended on Duval Street.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Johnny Milano for The New York TimesRevelers rolled around in the confetti in Times Square.Continue reading the main storyPhotoCredit Jeenah Moon for The New York TimesThe aftermath in Times Square.Continue reading the main storyWe’re interested in your feedback on this page. Tell us what you think.Related Coverage How to Be Happier, Safer, Healthier and Smarter in 2018 DEC. 25, 2017 Opinion Gray Matter The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions DEC. […]

Europe Edition: Donald Trump, Syria, Corsica: Your Monday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Julien Warnand/European Pressphoto Agency • Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain is in Brussels today trying to unlock Brexit negotiations ahead of a mid-December summit meeting. [Bloomberg] • The German authorities said that an explosive package found in the city of Potsdam was part of an effort to extort DHL, the logistics company, and not an attempted act of terrorism. [Reuters] • In an Op-Ed, the former television host Billy Bush said that the famed 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Donald Trump making vulgar comments was real. […]

Readers React: Military Members and Their Families Respond to John Kelly’s News Conference

SectionsSEARCHSkip to contentSkip to site indexSubscribeLog In SubscribeLog InAdvertisementReader CenterReaders ReactMilitary Members and Their Families Respond to John Kelly’s News ConferenceImageJohn F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, defended President Trump and discussed his son’s death during a news briefing on Thursday.CreditShawn Thew/European Pressphoto AgencyBy Nancy Wartik Oct. 20, 2017The article about a news conference given this week by John F. […]

Harvey Weinstein, Los Angeles Dodgers, the Orionids: Your Friday Briefing

• Best of late-night TV. Offensive words from the president? Not surprising, said Trevor Noah. “We’re offended every day.” Continue reading the main story • Quotation of the day. “A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors.” — The Central Intelligence Agency, in a statement explaining why a Labrador retriever failed to make the cut in its explosives detection “puppy class.” Photo A career spent sniffing for bombs was clearly not the life Lulu envisioned for herself. This is fine. Credit Samantha Dubois/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Back Story “When something outrages you,” Stéphane Hessel wrote, “as Nazism did me, that is when you become a militant, strong and engaged.” Born on this day in 1917, Mr. […]

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.

And just as Western analysts once scoffed at the potential of the North’s nuclear program, so did experts dismiss its cyberpotential — only to now acknowledge that hacking is an almost perfect weapon for a Pyongyang that is isolated and has little to lose.The country’s primitive infrastructure is far less vulnerable to cyberretaliation, and North Korean hackers operate outside the country, anyway. Sanctions offer no useful response, since a raft of sanctions are already imposed. And Mr. Kim’s advisers are betting that no one will respond to a cyberattack with a military attack, for fear of a catastrophic escalation between North and South Korea.PhotoPortraits of the former North Korean leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, on a building in Pyongyang.Credit Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images“Cyber is a tailor-made instrument of power for them,” said Chris Inglis, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency, who now directs cyberstudies at the United States Naval Academy. […]

Fact Check: Assessing Trump’s Criticisms of Iran and the Nuclear Deal

“Any attempt to renege or decertify or impose sanctions again has a tremendously negative impact on the current moderates in Iran” who support Mr. Rouhani and, in turn, would fuel hard-liners, Mr. Amanat said.Mr. Trump misled about the deal’s “immediate financial boost” to Iran.Mr. Trump claimed that the deal gave Iran “over $100 billion its government could use to fund terrorism” and a “massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion.” The diplomatic agreement did not cut Iran a check, but it did release about $100 billion in previously Iranian frozen assets. Much of the amount is tied up in debt obligations. For example, $20 billion is owed to China for financing projects in Iran. Estimates for the actual amount available to Iran range from $35 billion to $65 billion.The Obama administration did transfer $1.7 billion to Iran, but Mr. Trump’s statement requires more context. The money — delivered in cash, some on a plane — was payment for a decades-long dispute and was indirectly linked to the nuclear deal.Before the 1979 revolution, Iran’s shah had paid $400 million for American military goods but, after he was overthrown, they were never delivered […]