'Assassins': Was Kim Jong-nam working with CIA to overthrow half-brother Kim Jong-un in North Korea?

According to The Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield, it was possible that Kim Jong-nam may have been in Malaysia to secretly meet with a CIA agent


                            'Assassins': Was Kim Jong-nam working with CIA to overthrow half-brother Kim Jong-un in North Korea?
Kim Jong-nam (Greenwich Entertainment)

In Ryan White's latest documentary 'Assassins', we learn about the assassination of North Korean leader and Kim Jong-un's older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam. The assassination took place in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was carried out by two unsuspecting women. While Siti Aisyah (from Indonesia) and Doan Thi Huong (from Vietnam) were both suspected to be internationally trained spies operating at the orders of North Korean agents, it was later revealed that both women had been tricked into performing the act under the pretense of a prank show.

According to accounts in the documentary, this was not the first attempt by the North Korean regime to kill the former favored heir. In fact, Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011 following their father, Kim Jong-il's death and Kim Jong-nam would often speak up against his brother's rule, casting doubt on him as a leader and saying that he was against "three-generation dynasties". 

It is also suspected that Kim Jong-nam may have been working with the CIA to give information on his half-brother, at the time of his death. According to The Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield, who appears in 'Assassins', it was possible that Kim Jong-nam may have been in Malaysia to secretly meet with a CIA agent. An analysis of his laptop after his death had shown that there recently was data copied out in a USB. Adding fuel to the fire was that after the attack, Kim Jong-nam's backpack was found to be carrying $120,000 in cash, divided into four bricks of $100 bills. Experts later suggested that he had received the money during a two-hour meeting with a CIA agent.

Fifield had gone into more detail about this in a book she authored and published in 2019, 'The Great Successor'. In it, she writes that "someone with knowledge of the intelligence who spoke on the condition of anonymity" said that Kim Jong-nam — who was living in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Macau before his death — had met on several occasions with CIA operatives. 

The North Korean leader "would have considered (Kim Jong Nam) talking to American spies a treacherous act," Fifield writes in 'The Great Successor', "but Kim Jong Nam provided information to them, meeting his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia." She also wrote that on his last trip to Malaysia, Kim Jong Nam was seen on security footage in a hotel elevator "with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be an American intelligence agent".

A report from The Wall Street Journal also corroborates this account, stating, "Mr. Kim (Jong-nam) traveled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his CIA contact, although that may not have been the sole purpose of the trip," citing an anonymous source. 

South Korean and US officials have said North Korea ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule and was thought to live mostly in Macau. The North has denied the allegation.

'Assassins' will in release theaters and on virtual cinema on December 11, 2020.

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