Two Americans held by North Korea released

Two Americans held by North Korea released

[Ed. – What did Obama give away for this one?]

Two Americans held by North Korea were on their way home Saturday after their release was secured through a secret mission by the top U.S. intelligence official to the reclusive Communist country.

Matthew Miller of Bakersfield, California, and Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Washington, were flying back to the West Coast with James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, according to U.S. officials. Clapper was the highest-ranking American to visit Pyongyang in more than a decade. …

[I]t was an anomalous role for Clapper, an acerbic retired general who doesn’t typically do diplomacy. …

U.S. officials did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the Americans’ release, including whether Clapper met with Kim or other senior North Korean officials. They said the timing was not related to Obama’s imminent trip to China, Myanmar and Australia.

A senior administration official said Clapper carried a brief message from Obama indicating that Clapper was his personal envoy to bring the two Americans home. The official spoke on a condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on the record. …

Bae, a Korean-American missionary with health problems, was serving a 15-year sentence for alleged anti-government activities. He was detained in 2012 while leading a tour group to a North Korea economic zone. …

Miller was serving a six-year jail term on charges of espionage after he allegedly ripped up his tourist visa at Pyongyang’s airport in April and demanded asylum. North Korea said Miller had wanted to experience prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea’s human rights situation.

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