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Kim Jong-il Grant's "Special Pardon," Releases Journalists

Laura Ling, 32, and Seung-Un Lee, 36, from Al Gore's fledgling Current TV have been imprisoned in North Korea since March 22, 2009. Coinciding with a visit by former President Bill Clinton, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has pardoned the two U.S. journalists.

Apparently the price was this photo-op:


Via The Lede

Update: Perhaps it's only coincidence that President Obama's approval ratings, and those of Obamacare, are in free-fall. The release of these two journalists, nearly five months after their arrest, does take the focus off of lots of bad news for The White House lately, if only temporarily.


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Comments (40)

What under the table price ... (Below threshold)

What under the table price was paid?

At least he didn't give the... (Below threshold)

At least he didn't give them a nuclear facility this time.

Glad to see a powerful pers... (Below threshold)

Glad to see a powerful person sticking up for real journalists, rather than just sucking up to the Sunday morning bobbleheads on Press The Meat etc.

Giving L'il Kim a photo op and an inflated sense of self-importance is small price to pay for the release of two American citizens.

"Giving L'il Kim a photo... (Below threshold)

"Giving L'il Kim a photo op and an inflated sense of self-importance is small price to pay for the release of two American citizens."

If you think that's all he got for it, you've got a lot to learn.

Not one of the people in th... (Below threshold)

Not one of the people in this picture is smiling; makes me wonder if perhaps there is a NOKO firing squad standing behind the camera. Gotta hand it to Bill, though. He makes both his wife AND his president look bad with just 1 trip.

Ah ha - the paranoid wingnu... (Below threshold)
Still An Unrepentant Democrat:

Ah ha - the paranoid wingnuts are all sure there's a super secret, back door, bad, bad, bad deal. Who'd a thunk it? Try telling that to the 2 captives and their families asshats.

The smug certainty of Oyster belies a deep seated paranoia of all things not from the land of wingnutia.

Well Unrepentant,May... (Below threshold)

Well Unrepentant,
Maybe you are right. Hillary called NoKo's nuclear program the greatest threat to stability in Asia. Maybe having a pic taken with Bill is a diplomatic coup. This trip with Clinton has not had that much fanfare so far. Maybe Clinton will not be allowed to make any official statement when he gets back. Maybe it is a thumb to nose to Hillary as well as a tail between your legs get in and out operation. But with all that, considering what this sadistic tyrant has gotten out of the world by jerking leaders around how could one not be suspicious? By the way, are you Lee Ward?

Hillary Clinton's... (Below threshold)
Hillary Clinton's State Department initially requested the journalists' release on humanitarian grounds but recently shifted to an appeal for amnesty. Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Clinton was on a "solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans."

An ex-president helping the Secretary of State,
his wife. So. Who gets the kudos? ;)

Repubs regrouping after thi... (Below threshold)
Larry Dickman:

Repubs regrouping after this arrogant display of diplomacy that got farther in one day than 8 years of W rattling his increasingly impotent sword.

How many nuclear reactors d... (Below threshold)

How many nuclear reactors did Bill give away?

Al Gore's Current TV?... (Below threshold)

Al Gore's Current TV?

Al Gore has TV? Who knew?

I didn't know the 2 "journa... (Below threshold)

I didn't know the 2 "journalists" were held by NorKo's for 8 years.

" An ex-president helping t... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

" An ex-president helping the Secretary of State,
his wife. So. Who gets the kudos? ;) "

As long as someone named 'Clinton' gets the kudos, the Won will not be amused...

I love it when I'm addresse... (Below threshold)

I love it when I'm addressed specifically. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Can we get some trolls that... (Below threshold)

Can we get some trolls that aren't on summer vacation and have brains, please?

An ex-president helping ... (Below threshold)
John S:

An ex-president helping the Secretary of State, his wife. So. Who gets the kudos? ;)

Looks to me like the former president is running the State Department and our foreign policy. At least that means there's one less thing for Bambi to screw up.

Is it me or does it look li... (Below threshold)

Is it me or does it look like nobody was actually in the room for this picture and that all the images were just photoshopped in.

It is an "odd" picture Jim.... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

It is an "odd" picture Jim. Three of the guys in the back row are all staring away from the camera, toward approximately the same point to their left.

Bill has a Botox Blank face.

Nobody is happy or in any way relaxed.

Odd, that's the word for it.

How much do you want to bet... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

How much do you want to bet Bill joins the mile high club on the way back?

"Can we get some trolls ... (Below threshold)

"Can we get some trolls that aren't on summer vacation and have brains, please?"

Naaaah - we're still stuck with Unrepentent Douchebag and Dickhead....

I wonder if Bill will use t... (Below threshold)

I wonder if Bill will use this opportunity to tour the museum formerly known as the USS Pueblo as Jimmy Carter did on his vacation in North Korea. It did get Carter a Nobel Peace prize. Wonder if Bill will get one of those too.

Pretzel, you just stole the... (Below threshold)

Pretzel, you just stole the premise from about a dozen future unfunny Leno monologues. "Lewinsky! Blowjobs! AIRPLANES! Nyuk nyuk nyuk."

And sam (#12), why the quotation marks? Why not just refer to them as journalists, sans quotes, instead of trying (and failing) to seem clever and condescending? Oh, I get it: because they work for a network that Al Gore started, they aren't American journalists--they're "American" "journalists".

Two people actually try and practice the craft in one of the most dangerous places in the world for Americans, and you mock them?

I apologize. I'm a "Canadi... (Below threshold)

I apologize. I'm a "Canadian" "patriot" who just happens to root for other "patriots" who kill my country's troops.

"How much do you want to... (Below threshold)

"How much do you want to bet Bill joins the mile high club on the way back?"

How much do you want to be he hasn't already, decades back?

And you know - I just plane don't care...

Aargh."How much do... (Below threshold)


"How much do you want to BET he hasn't already, decades back?"

Apologies to foreign despot... (Below threshold)

Apologies to foreign despots come easy to Obama after all the practice he's had.

If only he was around in 1941, he could have apologized to the Japanese and prevented all that unseemly violence.

1) Journalists? Is this a ... (Below threshold)

1) Journalists? Is this a joke? They are working for a political operation, for chrissake.

2) Here's the real joke -

Clinton's North Korea Trip May Cost The US (Peter Sharp, 8/05/09, Sky News)

When Mr Clinton touched down in North Korea, the former president was seen as the man who could force the hand of Kim Jong Il and orchestrate the release of the journalists.

But it later emerged that it was Kim Jong Il himself who had invited Mr Clinton to Pyongyang and had guaranteed freedom for the reporters as long as the visit would not be linked to the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons.

North Korea's propaganda factory - working overtime - claimed Kim Jong Il had received a personal apology from the former US President.

Wow! What we had to do for ... (Below threshold)

Wow! What we had to do for these "journalists". I would like for them to explain why they would make our country have to apologize for their freedom. But instead the left will parade them around as if they invented the cure for cancer. Two losers acting like they are players. ww

Yeah, fuck those stupid bro... (Below threshold)

Yeah, fuck those stupid broads! You work for Al Gore? Then you're not American, you're an "American", and the government should let you rot in a North Korean dungeon.

sam: should Clinton have instead made some idiotic public statement about not "negotiating with terrorists" and left these women to starve to death?

You people are evil.

No hyperbolist:You... (Below threshold)

No hyperbolist:

You leftists are traitors, and are dangerous and evil. You play with terrorists and kidnappers, yo support them, and encourage them to kill more and more.

It's all a kabuki dance for you.

Hyperbolist:You le... (Below threshold)


You leftists are nothing but tools for terrorists. You are the great enablers for all pathologies.

How many nuclear reactors did Clinton give away this time?

Why did the Dear Leader summon Bill Clinton?

Hahaha, sam, you're a nutca... (Below threshold)

Hahaha, sam, you're a nutcase. Who "plays" with terrorists? They don't strike me as the playful type. Christ you're a stupid person! Must be difficult going through life on a track so perpendicular to reality.

Haha hyperbolist:M... (Below threshold)

Haha hyperbolist:

Must be great sucking off every despot and terrorist you can find.

CNBC reported that they wer... (Below threshold)

CNBC reported that they were flown out on one of those "evil" (oh so evil) corporate jets. This one owned by Dow Chemical. So evil are these jets that it forced the House to buy 3 of their own.

sam, quit projecting. This ... (Below threshold)

sam, quit projecting. This has nothing to do with any subconscious homoerotic fantasies you might wish to play out with a guy dressed as a jihadist; and everything to do with you being an evil, stupid idiot. According to you, anyone to the left of John Bolton is chummy with terrorists. What an honour it would be, being one of the hundred million or so people on the entire planet who you don't consider to be a traitor to the United States.

By the way, that raises another interesting point with regards to how utterly stupid you are: explain to me how a Canadian like myself might be considered a traitor by a toothless clown such as yourself, when you are logically committed to the belief that Canada--a liberal nation--is a nation of traitors? How can one be treacherous towards one's own nation, when one's nation is a nation of treacherous terrorist sympathizers?

Are you beginning to realize what a bad idea it was, skipping grade nine the third time around to stay home and huffing all that glue?

Saw some of the return on T... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Saw some of the return on TV news earlier today.
There are questions that will never be answered. What was their real mission. What did Clinton give away other than his dignity, which has always been suspect.

And on the personal side, I missed the families being re-united. I wanted to see Ms. Ling when she saw her daughter, Dinga.

Giving L'il Kim a photo ... (Below threshold)

Giving L'il Kim a photo op and an inflated sense of self-importance is small price to pay for the release of two American citizens.

On the one hand, it is very sad that they got captured. OTOH, they were filming something about how NK is a shatastic horrible country run by a midget megalomaniac being controlled by his hair. No shit. Not only does anyone with their head removed from their sphincter know this; but it's a bit like saying Atlantis is humid, the universe is bigger than twice the size of our solar system, and being shot in the genitalia with a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range would be a little painful.

How damned ridiculous do your thought processes have to be to do something like that?

Why does Dear Leader always... (Below threshold)

Why does Dear Leader always look like he's constipated?

Look its the SECRET SOCIETY... (Below threshold)

Look its the SECRET SOCIETY of SUPER VILLIANS in the flesh

So Bill Clinton flies to No... (Below threshold)

So Bill Clinton flies to North Korea on his own dime, and saves two innocent women from decades of hard labor in prison - or worse.

Doesn't that mean he did a good thing? I know you all hate him with an undying passion that will never be abated - but certainly you can admit that, in this one case, saving two innocent women from horrible imprisonment is good?






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