On O'Reilly, Code Pink's Benjamin Claimed North Korea Has No Nukes

Appearing as a guest on tonight's episode of the O'Reilly Factor (Mon. 3/20/06), Medea Benjamin, a cofounder of the far-left group Code Pink, made the claim that "North Korea does not have a nuclear weapon." An overwhelming mountain of evidence suggests otherwise.

In October 2002, North Korea publicly admitted to having a nuclear weapons program (see here and here). This was a clear violation of the 1994 agreement it made under the Clinton administration not to seek to build nuclear weapons. (By the way, there may be evidence that President Clinton knew as President that North Korea was breaking its promise [see this]).

In April 2003, in three-way talks with China, North Korea told the United States that it had nuclear weapons (here and here).

In February 2005, Defense Intelligence Agency analysts "were reported to believe that North Korea may already have produced as many as 12 to 15 nuclear weapons" (source, emphasis added). (See also this.) Even Democratic Senators Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton have written that North Korea may have many nuclear weapons.

In September 2005, it was reported that North Korea agreed to "abandon its nuclear weapons programs." Follow-through on this agreement remains another matter, however. Since November, nuclear talks "have been on haitus" and "negotiations have bogged down."

It's quite unlikely that Benjamin can provide any evidence for her claim. In a January 2006, 60 Minutes report, a North Korean general told CBS, "What we can say to you definitely right now is that we currently have nuclear weapons."

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From tonight's O'Reilly Factor (Mon. 3/20/06) (audiotape on file) (emphasis mine), discussing the issue of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons:

MEDEA BENJAMIN: I believe in working through the international community -- (crosstalk) --

BILL O'REILLY: Just like we worked through in international community with North Korea.

BENJAMIN: Well, we are working through the international community --

O'REILLY: They did not have the bomb that they lied to us about --

BENJAMIN: No, they do not have the bomb just like Iran doesn't have the bomb.

O'REILLY: So North Korea, in your opinion -- (crosstalk) -- North Korea in your opinion, does not have a nuclear weapon? Is that what you just said?

BENJAMIN: North Korea does not have a nuclear weapon. We know that North Korea doesn't have a nuclear weapon. Whether they are trying to get a nuclear weapon is another issue.

O'REILLY: I believe - I believe when you go back, and you talk to your people, they will correct you on that. They do have a nuclear weapon in North Korea, and the reason they do is because they lied to us in the Clinton administration and developed it ...

That's O.K., Bill. We're happy to correct Ms. Benjamin right here.

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.