Published: Fri, March 15, 2019

Central Intelligence Agency implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

Central Intelligence Agency implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

The paper said the Spanish authorities had raised the matter with the Central Intelligence Agency, which had denied involvement "but not in a very convincing manner".

The online newspaper El Confidencial, which broke news of the raid, reported that the group of men tied up and threatened staff, fleeing only after a woman managed to free herself and raise the alarm.

The CIA has denied involvement in the attack.

Attackers gagged staff and stole computers amid US-North Korea talks on nuclear arms control, it said.

The attackers had bound the staff, placing bags over their heads and beating them as they searched for files. The hostages were beaten and interrogated. One woman was eventually able to climb out of a second-story window and contact Spanish police.

El Confidencial said a police officer dispatched to the embassy was told everything was fine by a man who answered the door, but moments later, "the gates swung open ... and two high-end cars came out at great speed, leaving the area within seconds". Shortly afterwards, the suspects drove out of the embassy in two stolen vehicles and got away, dumping the cars in a street. Several diplomats required medical attention after the incident due to minor injuries.

Investigators from the General Information Office (CGI) and CNI ruled out the idea that the attack was the work of common criminals.

"The operation was perfectly planned as if it were carried out by a military cell, '"El País reported, citing sources close to the ongoing investigation".

The highly secretive investigation will be heard at Spain's High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, which could order the arrest of the identified assailants.

He is now Pyongyang's special representative for the US and was involved in preparations for the summit in Hanoi between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump.

North Korea's most recent ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok-chol, played a key role ahead of the Hanoi summit, heading up the North Korea negotiating team that received a U.S. delegation in Pyongyang in early February to discuss denuclearisation. The meeting, aimed at securing North Korea's nuclear disarmament, ended in failure without any agreement on a timetable for disarmament or on future negotiations.

Kim is one of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's most trusted officials.

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