John McCain says Kim Jong Il Has Joined Hitler in a ‘Warm Corner of Hell’

John McCainSen. John McCain said Monday the world is
better off now that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has died and
predicted that the dictator would join the likes of Adolf Hitler “in a
warm corner of hell.”


McCain’s political
colleagues, including GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, joined the
prominent and outspoken senator in saying bluntly that Kim will not be
missed after decades of oppression and threatening the world with his
nuclear program.

“I can only express
satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Gadhafi, bin
Laden, Hitler and Stalin in a warm corner of hell,” said McCain, the
top-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Kim’s
departure leaves gaping uncertainty over whether his untested son Kim
Jong Un would survive the palace intrigue and power jockeying in the
wake of his father’s passing.

Members of the
intelligence committees were briefed Monday on the intelligence
community’s best guess. They were told an Kim Jong Un regime, once
established, would be much like his father’s, but first, the 27-year-old
might have to fight for it, according to two U.S. officials briefed on
the intelligence. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss
classified matters.

Kim Jong Un had only two
short years to consolidate his influence on the military and elites who
keep the Kim family in power, after being named the successor, which
makes him weak, one of the officials said.

But
he still is likely to survive the turmoil because those regime elites
“are too invested in the family or too cautious to do anything else but
support him,” the official added.

“North Korea
doesn’t know what’s going to happen next,” including the family members
who have run the country, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike
Rogers, R-Mich., said in an interview.

“The
biggest telltale sign was the fact the military said no mourning in
streets, trying to keep everyone locked down,” including troops being
told to stay on their bases, so public sentiment won’t lead to unrest.

“Most
people believe that everything will be quiet for the short term, and
you will be able to decide over next weeks or months,” whether
27-year-old Kim Jung Un can hold onto power.

Paul
Stares, with the Center on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. would be
watching closely three upcoming public events – Kim’s funeral, his son’s
birthday celebration and the state’s annual New Year’s address.
Questions to be answered: Who is the new leader speaking to? Who is
standing around him? Does China attend? Who do they send?

“These are all critical signs for us,” said Stares.

Pete
Hoekstra, the former Michigan congressman who served as chairman of the
House Intelligence Committee, said the U.S. has “no clue what will
happen” in the wake of Kim’s death.

“Getting
access into the inner dynamics of North Korea has always been hard,”
said Hoekstra, who is running for the Senate. “It was always a place
where the majority of (intelligence) briefings would start out, `We
believe …'”

As little as a year ago when
Hoekstra left the post, intelligence on North Korea was spare, derived
mostly from signals intelligence such as intercepted communications, but
few human sources, he said.

Spies need both to help cross-check tips from intercepted snatches of conversation with people on the ground.

The
two U.S. officials insisted intelligence capability has improved,
however, pointing out that U.S. intelligence is certain that the test
missile launch just after Kim Jong Il’s death was planned long
beforehand and had nothing to do with the death or succession.

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Source: Anne Flaherty and Kimberly Dozier, The Associated Press

AP Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier can be followed on Twitter (at)kimberlydozier.