Is Kim Jong Il alive? Nation’s top spy wonders

This photo released by North Korea may be Photoshopped, the DNI said.

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, in an interview with INN, said he believes that the photo just released showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il today has been Photoshopped.

The DNI says Kim is not actually in the picture. It could be a very old picture to show him in good health and alive, the DNI said in the interview. The image shows a young man, purportedly Kim Jong Un, the leader’s third son, who is being groomed to replace his father.  The image also shows an older man, purportedly Kim Jong Il, with the young man, who though a military general, is not in uniform.  North Korea says the image was taken very recently.

These comments come just after a leak on the “Patileaks” Twitterfeed in which @patileaks said “US DNI: Kim Jong Il expected dead if he doesn’t make public appearance soon.”

Both the US government and the Chinese government issued statements saying that they deplored leaks when asked about statement. But, neither world superpower denied that the DNI had made the statement about the leader.

North Korea meanwhile, in addition to the image of Kim Jong Il, released a statement saying that the leader was demonstrating to his son how to be a strong leader in a time of crisis.

The country’s official NKI Web site was playing patriotic and military music.

“Kim Jong Il is alive and well,” said North Korean officials. The demonstrations in the country are not about his death, but in fact are a “peaceful show of support,” they said.

North Korea does not need anyone’s help, the officials said.

South Korea said it had no knowledge of Kim’s death. However, China was issuing statements mentioning its support for a “new regime showing care for their citizenry in a time of transition.”

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