US Senators Call for Action to Combat North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Threats to National Security

Three US Senators – Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Chris Van Hollen – have expressed their concerns over the potential national security risks associated with North Korea’s growing reliance on cryptocurrency. The senators have urged the Biden administration to take decisive measures to counter North Korea’s use of digital assets in evading international sanctions and financing its illegal weapons programs, including nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In a letter addressed to Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and Jake Sullivan, the White House’s National Security Advisor, the senators stressed the urgency of the situation. They highlighted evidence, including statements from Anne Neuberger, the White House Deputy National Security Advisor, which indicated that North Korea has financed around half of its missile program through cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft.

To address this serious threat, the senators have requested the administration to provide details of its plan to prevent North Korea from exploiting digital assets for illicit activities. The letter includes five specific questions seeking information on the Treasury’s strategy.

The concerns surrounding North Korea’s use of cryptocurrency have been backed by reports from the United Nations and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. These reports have revealed significant instances of cryptocurrency theft orchestrated by hackers linked to North Korea in recent years.

The senators have set a deadline of August 16 for the administration to respond, illustrating the importance they attach to mitigating the risks associated with North Korea’s cryptocurrency reliance.

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