U.S. senators have pressed the Biden administration for measures to counter “serious national security threats” posed by North Korea’s dependence on cryptocurrency. According to the lawmakers, North Korea is using crypto “to evade harsh sanctions and support its ambitions to project geopolitical power through nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.”
US Lawmakers Concerned About ‘Serious National Security Threats’ Linked to North Korea, Crypto
U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have pressed the Biden administration for measures to counter crypto-related national security threats.
In their letter, dated Aug. 3, to Brian E. Nelson, Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and Jake Sullivan, the White House’s National Security Advisor, the lawmakers wrote: “We write to express concern about the national security threat posed by North Korea’s reliance on digital assets to circumvent international sanctions and embargoes and fund its illegal weapons programs.”
The letter cites several sources detailing North Korea’s illicit use of crypto, including White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger who stated that about half of North Korea’s missile program has been funded by “cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft.” The senators stressed:
Given the pressing nature of this threat, we ask the Administration to provide details on its plan to stop North Korea … from using digital assets to evade harsh sanctions and support its ambitions to project geopolitical power through nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
The lawmakers concluded their letter with five questions concerning the Treasury’s “plans to address the serious national security threats posed by North Korea’s dependence on cryptocurrency.” The senators requested the answers be delivered to them no later than Aug. 16.
A United Nations report revealed in February that North Korea stole more crypto assets in 2022 than in any other year. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis similarly found that North Korea-linked hackers, such as the members of the Lazarus Group, were particularly active last year. They stole an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency across several hacks, according to the data firm.
What do you think about the U.S. senators probing the Biden administration for a plan to address the threats posed by North Korea’s crypto dependence? Let us know in the comments section below.