North Korean Hackers Stole US-South Korea War Plans, Official Says
Albanian Daily News
Published October 11, 2017
North Korean hackers allegedly stole classified military documents from a South Korean Defense Ministry database in September 2016, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of South Korea's National Assembly.
Rhee, who belongs to the ruling Democratic Party and sits on the Defense Committee, told CNN on Tuesday that he received information about the alleged hacking from the Defense Ministry.
He said the documents stolen included the South Korea-US wartime operational plan and a document that includes procedures to "decapitate" the North Korean leadership.
About 235 gigabytes worth of military data was stolen by the hackers, Rhee said.
When asked about Rhee's comments by reporters at a daily press briefing on Tuesday, a spokesman from South Korea's Defense Ministry declined to comment, saying the information is classified.
The Pentagon also declined to comment specifically on reports of the potential breach, but spokesman Col. Robert Manning said on Tuesday that the US is "confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea."
"The operations plan that they are referring to is a bilateral plan, so the Republic of Korea-US alliance remains steadfast in their commitment to make sure they safeguard that information and ensure readiness on the Korean peninsula to counter any North Korean threats," Manning said.
"I'm not going to address the specifics of that discussion but what I will tell you is that it is a ROK-US alliance commitment to make sure that they safeguard operations and plans," he added.
Depending on the level of detail in the stolen plans, the hack could pose serious challenges for the US-South Korean alliance.
"If the North Koreans in fact accessed the US/South Korean defense plans, this is a treasure trove of information and presents a real danger," said CNN military analyst and retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona.
"If I had access to the enemy's plans, not only would I know what forces were going to be arrayed against me, I would now where they will be, what weapons they will have, where the command and control nodes will be established -- all critical warfighting information."
Details of the alleged 2016 hack emerged as President Donald Trump continues to imply that diplomatic efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs through negotiations have proven to be ineffective.
"Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn't work," Trump tweeted on Monday.
In a pair of tweets sent Saturday afternoon, Trump said past agreements with North Korea have all been violated.
"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid ... hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators," Trump wrote. "Sorry, but only one thing will work!"
Asked by reporters later Saturday about the tweet, Trump would only say: "You'll figure that out pretty soon."