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ROK Intelligence Agency: Kim Jong Il’s Brain Scan in Hand, Stroke Confirmed

Intercepted a number of Kim Jong-il’s brain scan pictures that were sent from North
Korea to a foreign country in mid-August
Successfully “decoded” the file’s codes
Analysis of the ‘Brain scan pictures’ concluded ‘It would be difficult for Kim Jong-il to
govern for more than five years’
Reported the results of the analysis to the President Lee Myung-bak prior to
September 9th (North Korean Foundation Day)
Monthly Chosun in Korean
December 2008 Edition (Published 11/17/2008)

By Kim Yon-kwang, Monthly Chosun Editor

It has been revealed that the ROK intelligence agency acquired "brain scan photos" of Kim Jong
Il that were being sent [electronically] from North Korea to a foreign country in mid-August and
accurately decoded the "brain scan photos" file to confirm that Kim Jong Il collapsed due to a

The ROK intelligence authorities acquired Kim Jong Il's "brain scan photos" in mid-August,
around the same time frame that Kim Jong Il supposedly collapsed due to a stroke. A North
Korean intelligence agency is known to have sent the "brain scan photos" from Pyongyang to a
French medical team for medical consultation.

The ROK intelligence authorities intercepted these files, decoded the files, analyzed Kim Jong
Il's "brain scan photos" in detail with a domestic medical team, and concluded that "it will be
difficult for Kim Jong Il to govern for more than five years." A government official said, "The
intelligence authorities' report stating that 'it will be difficult for Kim Jong Il to last more than five
years' was reported to President Lee Myung-bak prior to September 9th, North Korean
Foundation Day, which is when the rumors about Kim Jong-il’s possible health problems
became widespread.”

The following are summaries of conversations held with multiple government officials:

- When did we acquire the ‘brain scan photos’ of Kim Jong-il?

“Mid-August. Through signal interception, signal surveillance, and satellite surveillance (on the
North Korean region), [we] detected there were problems surrounding Kim Jong Il. There were
high levels of activity at Pyongyang's core [“Pyongyang’s core” interpreted to mean North
Korea’s ruling elite], and [we] intercepted a signal that said that "(Kim Jong Il had) collapsed." Pl
aced on "alert," we hacked important information being sent from Pyongyang to the outside.”

- Where ‘outside’ was it going to?

“A foreign country.”

- Which foreign country?


This government official avoided mentioning the specifics of at what point and how the
transmitted files from Pyongyang were intercepted.

On 27 October, Japan's Fuji TV reported that "Kim Cho'ng-nam, National Defense Commission
Chairman Kim Jong Il's eldest son, visited Paris, France, last week to meet with a neurosurgeon,
after which this neurosurgeon left for Pyongyang." This day, Fuji TV broadcasted footage of Kim
Cho'ng-nam leaving a hospital in Paris and of a French doctor, who is believed to have met with
Kim Cho'ng-nam, leaving the country through Charles de Gaulle International Airport two days
later after taking a ride in a vehicle owned by the North Korean mission to Paris-based

Fuji TV revealed that the neurosurgeon is "Francois-Xavier Roux" (57 years old). Francois-
Xavier Roux talked to the Associated Press on the phone on 30 October in Beijing, China, and
stated that "the purpose of this Beijing visit is to attend a conference of neurosurgeons" and
added, "I have not visited Pyongyang recently."

Based on these circumstances, it is presumed that The ROK intelligence authorities intercepted
the "brain scan photos," in other words CT (computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic
resonance imaging) photos, that Kim Jong Il's doctors in Pyongyang sent to a French medical
team via email.

The ROK, US, and Japan intelligence authorities have traditionally used Japanese media when
there is a need to leak information shared during intelligence interchange processes. ROK and
US intelligence authorities collect and produce most of the intelligence about North Korea
occurring on the Korean peninsula. ROK and US intelligence authorities use Japanese media,
who is in a third-party position, to conceal their true intelligence capabilities.

On 9 August 1992, Japan's Sankei Shimbun carried an article, along with photos, on Kim Il
Sung's mistress Kim Song-chuk, her daughter Kim Paek-yo'n (5 years old at the time), and Kim
Song-chuk's mother Kim Cho'ng-su, enjoying shopping in Stockholm, Sweden. Sankei Shimbun
reported in detail that Kim Song-chuk was a beauty who was a dancer and that the Swedish
police protected this group.

It was the National Security Planning Division (National Intelligence Service's predecessor) that
confirmed that Kim Il Sung's mistress Kim Song-chuk had been residing in Stockholm, Sweden,
for a long time. The ROK intelligence authorities was successful in intercepting international
telephone conversations between Kim Il Sung and Kim Song-chuk. A previous high-ranking
National Security Planning Division official still remembers the conversation Kim Il Sung
conducted with Kim Song-chuk in his thick voice.

The young woman (Kim Song-chuk) used the familiar form in speaking to the Great Leader:

Kim Song-chuk: “Don’t be looking at other women while I am not there.”

Kim Il Sung: “I am not going to.”
Kim Song-chuk: “Do you want to see me?”
Kim Il Sung: “Yes, yes.”

Took Almost a Week to Break the Code

The ROK and the US intelligence agencies monitored an international telephone conversation
between Kim Il-sung and his daughter residing in Eastern Europe immediately following his
speech at the June 89 Pyongyang World Youth Students Celebration. At the time, the high
ranking ROK officials at the Blue House and the ROK intelligence agency listened to the actual
conversation [vice reading a transcript].

“Hey, did you hear my speech?”

“How was it?”
“It was very nice.”
“I think I will be fine for at least another 10 years.”

Let’s return to the conversation with our government official:

- What was the important information North Korea transmitted to France?

“We didn’t know what it was because the file was encoded so we didn’t know what it was at first.
However, our intelligence agents were successful in deciphering the code”
- How long did it take for you to decipher the code?
“It took over three days, but did not take over a week. It was hard work deciphering the code.”

- What was the encoded information?

“Kim Jong-il’s brain scan photos.”

- Was it CT photos, was it MRI photos?

“They were brain scan photos that showed us which part of Kim Jong-il’s brain was afflicted and
the extent of the paralysis.”

- After successfully hacking the first time, were there other intercepts of the ‘brain scan
“After the initial intercept, there were a number of other intercepts of files that were transmitted
to France. We’ve acquired a number of these brain scan photos.”

I’ve asked a computer security system sales and IT company representative about what
methods the ROK intelligence agency might have used to intercept the emails and decipher the
code. The computer company representative is in his early 50’s and received his Ph.D. in
engineering in the US.

Computer Security Expert: “Super computer was most likely used in deciphering the

- How is it possible to intercept an e-mail that the DPRK sent from Pyongyang to France?
"The simplest way is to copy and download the e-mail from the person who receives e-mails
sent from Pyongyang. There are many ways to intercept e-mails by going into a computer
network, even without intelligence operations. There is a way that a person could plant a virus
in the French receiver's computer and have e-mails be sent here one by one every time the e-
mail arrives. There is no way f or me to know which way our [ROK] intelligence agency chose."

He said, "There was an incident in which China intercepted all computer files from a senior
executive of a US arms seller in 2007 by hacking into his e-mails." The following is what he

"A board member of an arms seller received an e-mail from a major at the US Defense
Department. The e-mail contained tasks undertaken for a few weeks and read, 'Send a cost
estimate, as India is set out to purchase weapons.' As soon as the e-mail was opened, Poison
Ivy (hacking program) was activated. All files stored in his computer were transferred to China.
The US intelligence authorities' investigation revealed that the Chinese computer that stole the
files was located in a backcountry Uyghur village of Xinjiang autonomous region. Planting
Poison Ivy in a computer that hackers would like to hack is the most commonly used e-mail
hacking method. After this incident, the United States massively cut down on the use of e-mails
for the US intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense, and initiated the anti-hacking
'Byzantine Project'."

- It is said that even after the interception of e-mail, deciphering is almost impossible if it
is encrypted. Is there a way to decipher the code?
"If the brain scan photo is sent via e-mail, it must be a 'digital file' that is a numerical [binary]
code consisting of 0s and 1s. If it is encrypted, it cannot be deciphered without 'key value.' I
suspect our [ROK] Government authorities must have gone through an enormous trouble to
decipher [the code]."

- It is possible to decipher a code without 'key value'?

"It can be deciphered. Recall your childhood memory, when you opened your father's cabinet or
safe. When you spin a combination lock back and forth, at one point it will make a 'click' sound.
After continuously repeating this process left and right, [the lock] will be unlocked at some point.
It is a similar method. The 'key value' of the encryption system that IBM has planted in
computers is a 64-bit one. The number of cases is 2 to the power of 64. You could decipher the
code after making bit-value substitutions 72,077 trillion times. It could be deciphered if you try
the number of all cases by mobilizing many supercomputers."

- Does our intelligence agency own supercomputers?

"I have no knowledge of that. However, the NSA (National Security Agency) of the United
States owns a large number of supercomputers. That is why there is a rumor that 'the NSA
hacks into all e-mails and telephone communications coming out of presidential palaces and
offices of prime ministers around the world.' There is also a possibility that our [ROK]
intelligence authorities intercepted the e-mail, and took the code to the NSA and asked for

- Do you have to have a supercomputer to decipher the e-mail's pass code?

"Not necessarily. There are cases where, in just one day, an expert computer science professor
deciphers the 64-bit code. The code can be easily deciphered, if the code is derived from a
certain meaning system or if some meaningful sentences are discovered based on clues."

In the early 1960s, IBM of the United States designed for the first time a mathematical
encryption scheme. The basic framework is similar to the random number table. By combining
sentences as if grinding them in a mixer, a wall is erected to make it virtually impossible to
decode [the sentences] without a 'key value.'

The encryption method currently in use in computers is still based on the IBM's prototype.

Initially, the ROK intelligence agency was not able to confirm 100% the brain scan photos were
those of Kim Jong-il after acquiring them.

A government source explains, “The brain scan photos could be those of Kim Jong-il, but it
could also be of Vice Marshall Jo Myong-nok (First Deputy Chairman of the NDC and Chief of
the General Political Department). We started piecing the puzzle together using signal intercept,
signal surveillance, satellite surveillance, and human intelligence we’ve gather up until that point
to put the picture together. After that, we’ve concluded that the brain scans were those of Kim
Jong-il; therefore, we gave the brain scans and all the health information we had on Kim Jong-il
to a medical team for analysis.”
President Lee was Skeptical

- What was the conclusion?

“We concluded the stroke he had suffered was serious. We also found out his condition was
getting better. The medical team that examined the files said, ‘Because the health conditions of
Kim Jong-il’s brain and heart are not very good overall, it would be difficult for him to live long.’
General consensuses were, ‘it would be difficult for him to last for more than five years.’ We
submitted the report containing this information to the President Lee Myung-bak.

- What was the President’s reaction?

“He seemed to be doubtful of the report. We were the same way although we were the ones
that collected the intelligence. Therefore, we were keen to see if Kim Jong-il would appear at
the 60th anniversary of the North Korea Foundation Day celebration on September 9th. Kim
Jong-il did not appear at the celebration, just like we predicted. The owner of the brain scans
was Kim Jong-il, and we were correct. After that, it is as what has been reported [in the open

- “It is difficult for him to last for more than five years.” Do you mean Kim Jong-il has
five years to live or five years to govern?
“Those two are very closely related.”

- There were reports that “five Chinese military doctors performed the brain surgery”,
and “the French doctor performed the brain surgery.” Did the surgery involve crack the
skull open or not?
“The emergency procedure was completed in 30 minutes. Because it was urgent, the North
Koreans sent the brain scans to a foreign expert immediately to ascertain if the emergency
procedure was successful and what other treatments are necessary in the future.”

- What is Kim-Jong-il’s current condition?

“The ROK medical team’s assessment was that as of late August, his left arm and leg were
paralyzed. His condition improved after that, and we assess his condition has gotten even
better by now.”

- Because a lot of information like “Kim Jong-il is well enough to ‘brush his teeth’” were
reported, the ROK intelligence agency received some heat such as “the ROK intelligence
agency is saying things like it is standing next to him” or “Isn’t it over the top?”
“I believe that was a misquotation of the ROK medical experts’ comment made as they were
looking at Kim’s brain scans, ‘It (Kim Jong-il’s health condition) is possible for him hold a spoon
or brush his teeth.’”

In August 2000, Kim Jong-il sent three of his personal physicians to the Johns Hopkins
University Medical Center in the US for two weeks to learn procedures on dealing with
emergency medical conditions such as heart attack. He also has been sending the medical
charts of his “generals” to a US medical staff starting early 1990s for consultation (See Monthly
Chosun, November 2008 Edition).

The ROK and the US intelligence agencies have known about Kim Jong-il’s brain and heart
conditions for a long time based on evidence they’ve gathered over the years, and now they’ve
learned how long Kim Jong-il may last based on the files the ROK intelligence agency had
The Moment of Truth

North Korea continuously releases doctored photographs to hide the fact that Kim Jong-il is
paralyzed on side. The government source explained, “Kim Jong-il has underestimated the
intelligence capabilities of the ROK and the US. Until now, North Korea tended to continuously
lie until we show them evidence to the contrary.”

That doesn’t mean the ROK and the US just let the North Korean lies to continue. At decisive
moments, they held out the “trump” card, going against the intelligence organizations’
convention of “[we] shall not reveal intelligence capabilities.”

In September 1992, the US CIA released to the IAEA material related to the North Korean
Yongbyon nuclear facility’s construction and operations, which the CIA had been gathering since
1985 (including material gathered using satellite). A diplomat who has been dealing with the
North Korean nuclear issue for a long time explained the situation at the time.

“Not finding as specific evidence that North Korea was conducting any illegal nuclear activity
after the third temporary nuclear inspection conducted in August 1992 (from August 29 –
September 12), IAEA was showing signs that it will base its official announcement on the
findings of the third inspection. The friction between the US and the IAEA increased because of
IAEA’s decision, but the IAEA’s position that ‘there’s no solid evidence of nuclear development in
North Korea’ was strong. The ROK government, which had been watching the IAEA’s
inspection process with keen interest, breathed a sigh of relief at the IAEA’s assessment. The
ROK government was excited about the anticipation that the questions about the North Korean
nuclear development would soon be found baseless, and this would allow for the improvement
in the inter-Korean relationship.

However, seeing that the situation is not going well, the US pulled out its last card that could
overturn the situation in September 1992. That card was the satellite imageries related to the
North Korean nuclear development that the US has been keeping in its intelligence archives. To
maintain a blanket of security over its collection capabilities, the US had been avoiding
revelation of specific evidence that could show its capabilities; however, when there was no
other choices, the US released the materials to the ROK government and the IAEA.

The evidence the US presented were evidence that did not raise any more questions or doubt.
At the time, there were more people that held improvement of inter-Korean relationship at higher
priority than resolving the North Korean nuclear issue in the ROK government. These people,
who held improvement of inter-Korean relationship at higher priority, did not give credibility to
the US’ concern about the North Korean nuclear development issue form the onset; however, in
front of undisputable evidence, they could not say anything.”