Former president Bill Clinton is in North Korea right now, in hopes of gaining the release of the two U.S. journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. Two months ago, Lee and Ling were sentenced to 12 years in labors camps for illegally entering North Korea, but earlier tonight, Politico reported, "North Korean officials told the family that they would release the women to Clinton, the source said. The family then approached the former president. The source said the White House approved the mission, which began Tuesday, North Korea time."
The NY Times notes, "The choice of Mr. Clinton would mark his first public mission on behalf of the administration. His wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been deeply involved in the journalists’ case." And Washington Post reports that Clinton "commands a great deal of respect in North Korea because he nearly visited Pyongyang in the waning days of his presidency and because North Korea's top military commander, Jo Myong-rok, visited Washington in 2000 and met with Clinton, said Victor Cha, a Georgetown professor." Cha said while there might not be a release agreement in place, "It would be very difficult for the North not to give these people up [to a former U.S. president]."
As it happens, Lee and Ling work for Current TV, which was co-founded by Bill Clinton's former VP Al Gore, and recently, Hillary Clinton was taunted by North Korea, after she likened the country to a small child.