T Nation

Clinton Gets Journalists Out


Knew it wouldn't be discussed in the Blowjob Barn, so I wanted to get it out there. Damn Democrats, freeing political prisoners...

N. Korean leader reportedly pardons U.S. journalists

 (CNN) -- North Korean President Kim Jong Il has pardoned and ordered the release of two U.S. journalists, state-run news agency KCNA said Wednesday.

The announcement came after former U.S. President Bill Clinton met with top North Korean officials in Pyongyang to appeal for the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had been arrested while reporting from the border between North Korea and China.

"Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it," the news agency reported. "Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong Il an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view.

"The meetings had candid and in-depth discussions on the pending issues between the DPRK and the U.S. in a sincere atmosphere and reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of them."

The report said Clinton then conveyed a message from President Obama "expressing profound thanks for this and reflecting views on ways of improving the relations between the two countries."

But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in Washington before the announced agreement that Clinton was not carrying any message -- written or oral -- from Obama.

Gibbs added that the former president last spoke with Obama during a White House visit in March. He described Clinton's trip as a "solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans."

The report from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the nation's official name, described the agreement to release the journalists as "a manifestation of the DPRK's humanitarian and peace-loving policy.

"The DPRK visit of Clinton and his party will contribute to deepening the understanding between the DPRK and the U.S. and building the bilateral confidence."

The two American journalists had been held in the reclusive communist nation since their arrest in March.

A statement from their families was posted Tuesday on the Web site lauraandeuna.com:

The families of the reporters thanked Gore and Clinton, who KCNA said left North Korea shortly after the announcement, and said they felt "overjoyed" upon hearing of the upcoming release of Ling and Lee.

"We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms," they said.

Earlier in the day, White House Secretary Robert Gibbs said Clinton was on a "solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans."

Ling and Lee are reporters for California-based Current TV -- a media venture launched by Clinton's former vice president, Al Gore.

The two reporters were sentenced in June to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign. Because the United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, efforts to resolve the issue had been handled through Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea.

The visit by the former president, whose wife, Hillary Clinton, is the Obama administration's secretary of state, came about three weeks after the United States dropped a request that Ling and Lee be released on humanitarian grounds. Instead, the United States was seeking amnesty for the women, Hillary Clinton said. Watch what may lie behind the pick of Bill Clinton »

A plea for amnesty implies forgiveness for some offense, which could have given North Korea the chance to release the women without feeling that its legal system had been slighted, according to analyst Mike Chinoy, an Edgerton senior fellow on Asia at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles, California.

Before the release, Chinoy said, "I suspect that it was made pretty clear in advance that Bill Clinton would be able to return with these two women, otherwise it would be a terrible loss of face for him."

Clinton's mission came as the United States and its allies in the region are seeking to push North Korea back into stalled nuclear disarmament talks. North Korea conducted a nuclear bomb test, its second, in May, and has conducted several missile tests since then. The United Nations responded to those tests by tightening and expanding sanctions on the nation.

North Korea and the United States were on opposite sides in the 1950-1953 Korean War and had no regular contacts before a 1994 crisis over North Korea's nuclear program. North Korea agreed at that time to halt the development of nuclear weapons, but abandoned that accord and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003.

Clinton had considered visiting North Korea in 2000, near the end of his second term as president. His secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, went to Pyongyang in early 2000 to meet with Kim.

The 67-year-old North Korean leader was widely reported to have suffered a stroke a year ago and is believed to be grooming his youngest son, Kim Jon Un, as his successor.



The deal was struck before Clinton even left the U.S.


Yea, I bet it was.


any proof?


If the deal was struck first, wouldn't that have been intelligent of him and/or the Secretary of State?

More intelligent than meeting "with no preconditions" for sure.


Back in June Hillary said a special Representative would be involved in order to free this girls. Just saw it on the news.


I promise you it will one day be common knowledge that it was.


[i]The journalists' release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United Nations, said Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Clinton "didn't go to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation," Sneider said. [/i]

North Korean state media reports:

"Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong-Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it," KCNA reported.

Likely not, but given our president's penchant for apology on the international stage, it's worth a pause.


Allegedly, I heard this story this morning, and then it was stated that Clinton was going on his own volition. Then after he is successful in freeing the American women, THEN the media says Obama sent him. Come on, if you lie be consistent with it.


As a follow up, the choice of now-private citizen Bill Clinton was deliberate in order for NK to preserve their stance that the girls acted criminally and the act would not be a diplomatic event between governments:

Pardoning Ling and Lee and having Clinton serving as their emissary served both North Korea's need to continue maintaining that the two women had committed a crime and the Obama administration's desire not to expend diplomatic capital winning their freedom, Sneider said.

Other than all the above, Clinton "won the day" with his natural charisma and diplomatic gravitas.

That said, Irish's airball aside, this is good use of Clinton. Bush should have used him in certain international affairs as well.


The most important thing was getting the women out, but Pyongyang called the shots the whole way which is what was important to them. They take satisfaction and at least perceived prestige in having pulled the U.S.'s strings and playing the humanitarian role and we get our citizens back.

Could have been worse.


Could you imagine if we had a similar policy towards illegal immigration? Wow. Locking people up in a labor camp for 12 years.


Holy shit, I agree with tbolt.

Of course this was negotiated beforehand. What do you guys think this is, amateur hour? And you you don't think Obama knew of it and approved, you're nuts. Do you guys think that Bush was unaware Bill Richardson went over before?


I admit to being a cynic about the obamanation. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if king jong il demanded it be bill instead of hillary.

Maybe il's way of getting back at her for talking tough.


Airball my ass.

God fucking forbid a Democrat get credit for anything around here. If Bush pulled this off, or Reagan better yet (wait a second..) it would have been hailed as a miracle.


fair enough


What a novel fucking concept! There is a pot hole in the on ramp by my house that irks the shit out of me every morning, they could fix that in a jiffy with some pressed labor.



You are all missing what really happened. Bill said, hand the ladies over now or I'm coming back with Hillary. Bricks were shat.


hahhaha. I bet


Doesn't that insinuate that the democrats would have been the ones holding him captive.

No. The NK's freed the journalists since they in fact were the captors.

And besides, you still cannot give credit to democrats for this. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. But nice try.