Apparently ignoring months of analyst warnings that there is no way to have a "limited" war with North Korea, the White House envisions a quick, damaging attack, potentially destroying North Korea's missile test site, and some stockpiles, which would, according to officials, show how "serious" President Trump is.
"Well-placed" sources told the Daily Telegraph Wednesday that the U.S. military is preparing to attack North Korea, which has tested ballistic missiles at a record pace in 2017.
"The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we're serious", a former USA security official told The Telegraph.
"But it seems likely, the analysis adds, that the missile had a very light mock warhead, meaning it might lack the power to carry a nuclear payload, which is much heavier, over that distance", the BBC pointed out.
The WannaCry attack crippled hospitals, banks and companies around the world, and "highlights the capabilities that North Korea has in cyber", Kurtz said.
Vipin Narang, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said on Twitter that "the notion in DC that you can give North Korea a "bloody nose" without the USA or an ally suffering a severe stab wound in return is delusional".
The attack exploited a Windows vulnerability that was originally developed by the US National Security Agency, but was released in a stolen cache of NSA cyberweapons by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers. Short of blowing up a launch site, where launch officers may die and Kim Jong Un himself usually watches nearby, the USA could attempt to intercept North Korea's next missile launch.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told the Atlantic last week he believed there was a 30 percent chance of Trump using a military option, but that if North Korea tested another nuclear weapon that percentage would jump to 70. If the U.S. attempts to strike a launch site with Tomahawk missiles, North Korea may interpret the incoming salvo of missiles targeted near their supreme leader as an outright act of war.
North Korea denied involvement when links between the country and the attack were first brought up in May.