- North Korea's latest launch was at night - which many consider to have been a demonstration that it could launch a surprise attack.
- But US intelligence sources reportedly said they knew three days in advance and watched the missile preparation.
- Knowing in advance gives the US time to evaluate the proper response.
North Korea launched its latest ICBM in the dead of night, which many analysts have interpreted as an attempt to show the US that they could launch a surprise nuclear attack on the US.
But the US had been aware of the preparations for launch three days in advance, and observed the missile being erected and prepared for hours, US intelligence sources told The Diplomat's Ankit Panda.
Each time North Korea launches a missile, it releases pictures that usually feature Kim Jong Un in an observation stand. Spotting this stand reliably helps the US determine where and when North Korea may be plotting a launch, according to Panda.
In the case of the latest launch of the Hwasong-15, which experts say can strike anywhere in the US with a nuclear payload, North Korea used a mobile stand possibly to avoid detection, according to Panda.
But the US, with a network of satellites, drones, and spy planes frequently patrolling the skies above North Korea, spotted the test anyway.
While North Korea prepared the surprise, off-season, launch, the US reportedly knew days in advance and had time to make the critical decision of whether or not to strike at the launch site.
So despite North Korea showing the impressive ability to launch a missile in the dead of night, it seems it still hasn't quite mastered pulling a fast one on the US military.