By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump's handling of the North Korean crisis has served to worsen an already dire situation, the former head of the CIA said Thursday.
“The caustic and bellicose comments that are coming out of Washington and Mr. Trump on his tweets really has led to an escalation in tensions," John Brennan said on the Today Show morning program.
Trump has regularly used bitter rhetoric when reacting to North Korea's missile and nuclear tests, threatening at one point to "totally destroy" the country and repeatedly calling its leader Kim Jong-un "rocket man".
Brennan said Trump is trying to project a strong persona, but "he is not experienced at all in international brinkmanship.
"I'm hoping that Rex Tillerson is going to be able to continue some of his efforts to try to address these issues behind the scenes," Brennan added, referring to Trump's top diplomat.
The former head of the U.S.'s intelligence agency estimated Wednesday that Washington. and Pyongyang have at least a 20 percent likelihood of becoming engaged in a military conflict.
The prediction was immediately followed by North Korea's warning Thursday that the U.S. has brought primary targets "under our nose," as some of Washington's most powerful military assets are in South Korea this week.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group is among the hardware involved in ongoing naval drills with South Korea, while aircraft including the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber are taking part in the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition.
Pyongyang already threatened to shoot down American military planes after a B-1B bomber flew near North Korea last month.
"The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones," North Korea's agency in charge of opposing nuclear war drills said in a report carried by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency.
"The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time," the report in English said.