POLITICS

Shaky Evidence For Claims Of North Korea Counterfeiting

03/28/2008 02:45 am 02:45:50 | Updated May 25, 2011

Two years ago, as he was ratcheting up a campaign to isolate and cripple North Korea's dictatorship financially, President Bush accused the communist regime there of printing phony U.S. currency.

"When someone is counterfeiting our money, we want them to stop doing that. We are aggressively saying to the North Koreans just that -- don't counterfeit our money," Bush said on Jan. 26, 2006.

However, a 10-month McClatchy investigation on three continents has found that the evidence to support Bush's charges against North Korea is uncertain at best and that the claims of the North Korean defectors cited in news accounts are dubious and perhaps bogus. One key law enforcement agency, the Swiss federal criminal police, has publicly questioned whether North Korea is even capable of producing "supernotes," counterfeit $100 bills that are nearly perfect except for some practically invisible additions.

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