Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader who was killed in a nerve-agent attack allegedly ordered by the North Korean government, had been working with the CIA prior to his death, according to The Wall Street Journal and a new book by a Washington Post reporter.
The Journal, in a story published Monday, cites “a person knowledgeable about the matter” as saying that Kim Jong Nam, who was living in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Macau in the years before his death, had “met on several occasions with [CIA] operatives.”
Washington Post correspondent Anna Fifield, in a book published Tuesday, makes a similar assertion, citing “someone with knowledge of the intelligence who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
Although a link between Kim Jong Nam and the CIA has been previously rumored, the Journal and the new book offer more concrete evidence and specificity.
The North Korean leader “would have considered [Kim Jong Nam] talking to American spies a treacherous act,” Fifield writes in The Great Successor, “but Kim Jong Nam provided information to them, meeting his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia.”
In February 2017, Kim Jong Nam was attacked by two women in an airport in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, who smeared VX nerve agent on his face. The women, one an Indonesian national and another from Vietnam, said after their arrest that they had been paid for the attack, which they thought was part of a television show prank.