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Michael R. Gordon: Warnings go unheeded over North Korea threat

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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:59 AM
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Michael R. Gordon: Warnings go unheeded over North Korea threat
WASHINGTON Imagine a former official who toiled behind the scenes on the most sensitive national security issues leaving the Bush Administration in frustration and now charging that White House policies have left the United States exposed to a dangerous and growing threat.
I am not referring to Richard Clarke, the former National Security Council aide whose criticism of the Bush Administration's counterterrorism policies rocked Washington, but to Charles Pritchard, a retired U.S. Army colonel and the former point man on North Korea for the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell.
Jack Pritchard, as he is known around Washington, is not a celebrity. He does not have a best-selling book. He makes more appearances at research institutes than at talk shows. But for months he has warned that the White House lacks an effective strategy to dissuade North Korea from building up its nuclear arms.
With the United States understandably occupied with the escalating violence in Iraq, the issue of North Korea has not attracted the attention it deserves. But North Korea's nuclear arsenal, which was once thought to number one or two weapons, appears to be growing substantially on President George W. Bush's watch.
The Bush Administration insists that the best way to put pressure on North Korea is through six-party talks, which also include China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. There can be unofficial side conversations between American and North Korean officials, but the United States will not be blackmailed into making concessions, administration officials say.
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