This American Visited North Korea’s Most Sensitive Nuke Sites. What He Saw Blew His Mind.

North Koreans wanted the renowned scientist Siegfried Hecker to know they could hide their bomb material and the United States would never find it.

TOPSHOT - People watch a television news screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 29, 2017.
Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on August 29 in a major escalation by Pyongyang amid tensions over its weapons ambitions. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je        (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People watch a television news screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 29, 2017. Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on August 29 in a major escalation by Pyongyang amid tensions over its weapons ambitions. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People watch a television news screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 29, 2017. Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on August 29 in a major escalation by Pyongyang amid tensions over its weapons ambitions. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Few Americans have ever been to North Korea. Even fewer have been inside one of the country’s nuclear weapons facilities. Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University and a former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, made his first private visit in 2004 and went back again and again. In our podcast this week, he says what the North Koreans showed him and his team members “blew our socks off.” He can only speculate why they gave him access to the country’s most sensitive nuclear sites. “What they wanted to tell the Americans is, ‘Okay, so you know we have … uranium capabilities to the bomb. And by the way, you’ll never know how much we have and you’ll never know where it all is.’” Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Few Americans have ever been to North Korea. Even fewer have been inside one of the country’s nuclear weapons facilities. Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University and a former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, made his first private visit in 2004 and went back again and again. In our podcast this week, he says what the North Koreans showed him and his team members “blew our socks off.” He can only speculate why they gave him access to the country’s most sensitive nuclear sites. “What they wanted to tell the Americans is, ‘Okay, so you know we have … uranium capabilities to the bomb. And by the way, you’ll never know how much we have and you’ll never know where it all is.’” Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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