Russians in Afghanistan? No, Americans in Secret North Korean Tunnels
Black ops is not just a video game according to the Telegraph headline US special forces ‘parachuted into North Korea’:
Army Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of US special forces in South Korea, told a conference held in Florida last week that Pyongyang had built thousands of tunnels since the Korean war, The Diplomat reported.
“The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites,” Gen Tolley said. “So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance.”
Sending soldiers over the fence would be pretty provocative, especially to the North Koreans who overreact to most anything (like torpedoing a South Korean ship in 2010, killing 46). Parachuting in would be especially provocative as it would entail penetrating North Korean airspace. And what is the type and frequency of these excursions? Are we talking sending two guys over the fence once in 1962 or something more regular? It sounds like something more regular. Snip:
Gen Tolley said the commandos were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimize the risk of detection by North Korean forces.
At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, Tolley said.
So is this a massive breach of national security by a general officer running off at the mouth? Maybe the government should get a public affairs specialist to do some ‘splainin’ to the media/issue a statement:
“Some reporting has taken great liberal licence with his comments and taken him completely out of context,” Colonel Jonathan Withington, of the public affairs office of US Forces Korea, said in a statement.
“No US or ROK (Republic of Korea) forces have parachuted into North Korea,” he said. “Though special reconnaissance is a core special operations force mission, at no time have SOF forces been sent to the north to conduct special reconnaissance.
“The use of tunnels in North Korea is well documented,” he added. “Several of the known tunnels along the DMZ are visited by tourists every day.”
As you parse out the statement, you can see it really isn’t quite a denial: it complains about the media reporting, does deny the use of jump troops and special ops forces, however, it makes no attempt to deny South Korean forces going over the fence (or coming in from the seas) for the purpose of checking out the North Korean tunnels.
About as you’d expect.