In remarks that startled reporters at a Washington D.C., breakfast Friday morning, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for "taking out the North Korean leadership" as an alternative to "moving big warships in."
In using the term "taking out" the Soviet-style regime in Pyongyang, the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful did not deny he meant covert operations that the CIA used to overthrow governments such as those in Guatemala and Iran in the early 1950s and the Congo in 1960.
"Let's just leave it there," Kasich told a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. And there are ways in which that can be achieved."
As to how this could be achieved, Kasich strongly suggested an operation similar to those the CIA used in the 1950s and '60s which were revealed by a Senate investigation in 1976.
"You have to have very good intelligence," he said, "You have to have an ability to do things quickly. That is not beyond our capability to achieve that — an ability to remove a number of the top people and have a benign leadership there that understands that risk — that's doable."
"Let me put it to you this way," Kasich replied, "I don't know the technicality of this, but if I were president, and I had …if I had to write something on piece of paper and stick it in a safe, fine. I believe the best way to solve this problem is to eradicate the leadership."
On August 18, 1960, according to Senate committee testimony, President Dwight D. Eisenhower "circumlocutiously" ordered Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba’s assassination. CIA Director Allen Dulles promised to take the order "very seriously," and Dulles soon dispatched the CIA's poison-master Sidney Gottlieb to carry toxins to the Congo. (Before they could be used, Lumumba died of lead poisoning at the hands of Congolese under supervision of a Belgian officer.)
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