May 07, 2010 09:25
Circumstantial evidence shows that North Korea's Reconnaissance Bureau, the agency in charge of espionage operations against the South, masterminded the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, government sources claimed Thursday.
The findings of a civilian-military investigation into the shipwreck will not be announced until May 20. But a government source on Thursday said, "South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies have tried to gather circumstantial evidence by tracing back various kinds of information and intelligence about the possibility of North Korea's involvement. They've so far obtained about three decisive pieces of circumstantial evidence."
Intelligence agencies are apparently piecing together intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, South Korea's Kumgang and Baekdu reconnaissance aircraft and communication monitoring posts, as well as human sources.
The source said while the media have raised the possibility that the Reconnaissance Bureau was involves, "my understanding is that we've now found out which specific department of the North's bureau was involved."
The bureau is the result of a merger of various North Korean spy agencies in February last year under the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces. It is led by the hawkish Lt. Gen. Kim Yong-chol.
Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have also found out more details of North Korea's mini-submarines or submersibles presumed to have used in the attack. Investigators have found gunpowder residue in the Cheonan's funnel and are analyzing aluminum fragments that may be debris from a torpedo.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com