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August 5th, 2009
09:07 AM ET

Two Americans Return Home

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two American Journalists, are returning home today (read full story here). They had been prisoners in North Korea since March. This is at a time of particularly chilled relations between the U.S. and North Korea - after North Korea’s recent nuclear testing and missile launchings. Many are wondering – how, exactly, did former President Bill Clinton manage to secure their release?

We want to know what you think. Were the captured journalists turning into a liability for North Korea?

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Vince Di Fruscio

    I befieve that the North Koreans wanted to release the women, but had to save face. Mr. Clinton supplied the answer to their problem and ours.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  2. Louis S

    These idiots from the media loves the drama, the yellow ribbons, the emotional response.
    As long as the enemies of the US know that they are going to keep holding, tourists, "journalists" and whoever they can get expecting this type of response they will keep doing this

    August 5, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  3. Bruce Howden

    I was very disappointed to not hear any kind of an apology for all the trouble they caused by stupidly trying to enter North Korea illegally. A little contrition would have been appropriate. I'm also curious to know who paid for the trip.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  4. marie pierre

    I have tears in my eyes, tears of joy for theese two journalist, released from North Korea finaly ! I am very happy and share their joy along with their friends and family. Jehovah s blessings upon all of them.

    Marie PIERRE, from Rhode-Island.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  5. Patrick Brumm

    I can hear the heads of neocons exploding. Diplomacy is absolutely NOT in their playbook. John Bolton has already been forecasting doom & gloom over this show of openness by NK.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  6. Katie

    Does the release of these two women necessarily mean a breakthrough with North Korea? I doubt it. However, what it does show, is the commitment of former President Bill Clinton to humanitarian causes. Agree or disagree with Clinton's political policies is a moot point when it comes to moments like this. This is a great moment, and all politics should be put aside.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  7. DaveNY

    I think it was incredibly irresponsible for the 2 reporters to voluntarily travel near the North Korean border (and perhaps even cross it). As wives and parents their actions are inexcusable.

    In addition, they have forced the U.S. government to spend politcial capital to release them when that that political capital could be better spent trying to help the millions of North Koreans who are starving or in labor camps.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  8. Janet Glazier

    All I can say is The Republican Party had it all wrong when they said you can't talk to your enemies.
    This administration proves that you get further with friendly diplomacy rather than fear,hate and threats .

    August 5, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  9. Geehae Han

    Clinton's 'Moses' gesture seems to have instigated not just an important open line of relations between N. Korea and the U.S. but N. Korea and S. Korea. Also Euna Lee, being Korean, should have had a slightly different experience than Laura Ling. This would be interesting to further know.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  10. Baimba Conteh

    i honestly don't think this incident well have any impact with our ties with North Korea. Kim Jong-I is a ruthless dictator who just surprisingly wanted to meet someone he admired former President Bill Clinton. He just threw in the journalist as a thank you gift. Trust me this well never happen again.

    Houston, TX

    August 5, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  11. ACE

    No I do not believe that the captured journalists were turning into a liability for North Korea I just think that Kim Jong-il wanted to do something good in his life for once.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  12. Mary

    I think these two irresponsible women owe everyone a huge apology for the cost and the people who had to grovel to our biggest enemies to secure their release. Who know what had to be given for their release.
    Do these women care about anything but their story!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  13. EnochSpeaks

    I think this whole affair was nothing but a mess created by these young ladies from the start. It will change nothing in North Korea and their drive to build a reliable ballistic missile will continue. If these ladies had been your average Joe then they would still be imprisoned and would have had a long prison sentence to serve. They are just privileged children who had contacts in the government.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  14. Melissa Fryette Mosley

    What a wonderful report to turn on the TV to this morning. The emotion that brings so many memories to me is overwhelming. My brother was the first POW from Viet Nam released 48yrs. ago in July. It was the happiest moment after months of everyday hoping we would see our brother and son again. It takes many people to accomplish this moment. I watched Pres.Clinton and Al Gore hug and thought what a productive team. My other brother wrote letters to then Pres.Kennedy to help bring our brother home. Our Presidents can accomplish much if positive support is given to them. Moments like this make me so proud to be an American!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  15. David

    Maybe now they could go hiking in Iraq!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  16. Rocky NJ

    I am very happy to have Laura & Euna home. This situation should have never happened in the first place. This in no way should make us forget about their recent missile launchings. They are an extreem threat to South Korea along with other neighboring Countries. Great job by Mr. Clinton.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  17. Linn

    My God, miracles do happen I suppose. It would have been one miserable 12 years for those two women journalists. This is to show how things can get done when you don't have "Hot Heads" negotiating. I am sure this would not have happened under the Bush administration.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  18. Joanna Drzewieniecki

    I am delighted Clinton brought these journalists back. The North Koreans just LOVE attention and everything is a propaganda opportunity for them. This propaganda may still work with their own people but not with most of the rest of the world. Republican complaints are in bad taste and sour grapes. As for the future of U.S.-North Korean relations, I think it is impossible to tell if this will make a difference – too many variables, too secretive a regime.We will see.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  19. Tom in Fairfield, CT

    I am of course elated that two of our citizens have been delivered from a rouge terrorist nation. However, I cannot help but wonder about the financial cost of President Clinton's trip. Is this going to be paid for by Al Gore, whose organization sent the reporters in the first place?

    August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  20. Cathy Cotleur

    Yes - because N. Korea put itself in a ridiculous position prosecuting two young women who made a mistake. I hope the U.S. will take advantage of this opening and move towards better relations with N. Korea. Neocons find this abhorrent, but why not? It is obvious that N. Korea wants attention and if giving them a little attention diffuses tensions, I think we'd be crazy not to do so.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  21. Beth in North Carolina

    I don't think this changes anything in terms of the U.S. relationship with North Korea or what the international community thinks of the regime. Certainly the journalist hostages were a liability for North Korea, but they only reinforce what those outside the country already know of this despotic regime - they starve and oppress their own people to afford nukes so they can frighten their neighbors and the rest of the world. I hope and pray democracy will find its way to North Korea in my lifetime.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  22. Jennine Jones

    I would like to share my heartfelt gratitude that our former President went to North Korea and came home with our fellow Americans. Yes, this could have political implications; on the other hand, part of our American family has returned to American soil after being held captive in a foreign country. This is what America is about; family and values.

    Thank you,
    Jennine Jones

    August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  23. fran jaeger

    so very happy these women are on American soil again, once again Bill Clinton has shown the magnitude of his persona and commitment to a crisis. , bravo to him!!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  24. donald

    On the contrary. North Korea is mainly a mystery to the world but having captured journalists in the middle of all their nuclear testing and sanctions presented an ideal opportunity for setting up the long sought after Clinton visit to North Korea. The mission most likely is part of North Korea's desire to attract a better relation with the Obama administration who appears to have a more diplomatic approach to foreign realations.

    This provides an open door to a win win result for both governments

    August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  25. Steve Mosher

    Although its a happy monent for their families, I agree with one of their fathers who said they needed a "kick in the butt". If it wasn't for the Al Gore connection, they would still be in North Korea. Maybe they were just on a "vacation hike" when they were arrested on the border.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  26. Jeff Bannon


    Thanks for your terrific coverage of this amazing event.

    For me, I loved seeing President Clinton and Al Gore involved with an important humanitarian and foreign relations action. It reminds me of the eight years of peace and prosperity that we enjoyed under their leadership in the 90's.

    It also gave me hope for the future. Every international emergency had worked well for the U.S. since Obama became President (this story, the pirates off of Somalia, etc.).

    August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  27. Rick

    2 trespassing pseudo-journalists put their families and US government in a terrible situation though their selfish actions and the media covers their return as if the pope is arriving. Not a single apology from them at the press conference either! After all the celebrations are over the State department should either charge them w/a crime or bill them for their costs!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  28. Sam Lee

    I am very relieved and moved by the women coming back home safely. However, it seems that Kim Jung Il (and the behind-the-scenes government representatives of the U.S.) have something up their sleeve. I think some aspect of this looks very staged.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  29. Sharon B

    As I set watching this homecoming and sharing many tears and emotions with the family members of these two very brave women, I could not help but relate to that very same feeling as I watched my husband and many others return from war. I share in the joy these families will experience over the next few weeks. Welcome home!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  30. Randy D

    Good job by President Clinton. Glad to see that Obama is going to utilize the giant talent this man possesses.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  31. Rocky NJ

    Janet in regards to your recent posting of the Republican Party not talking to our enemies thats absolutley correct they don't talk, they Act!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  32. Patrick Brumm

    Its because of brave journalists like these two women who help shine some light onto the darkest corners of the world.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  33. Bob Stafford

    I'm so happy that the two journalists are back on American soil, but of course, we are facing a similiar situation in Iran also. It makes one wonder why American citizens find it necessary to stray so close to the borders of countries that really don't like us that much.

    Brainerd MN

    August 5, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  34. saadac

    Should they have been over there in the first place? No. Did they get puished for breaking another country's law? Yes, and they deserved it. Were they turning into a liablility for N. Korea? No. It's like there's two kids on the playground, and one kid take's the other's toy. The victim then crys about having their toy taken away and wants it back. It's only a liability if the victim was going to do something about it, which in this case they weren't. What was going to happen? More sanctions? Please.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  35. Steve Beai

    It's too bad the Republicans have NEVER done anything so triumphant and hopeful as what we've just witnessed with Laura Ling and Euna Lee. From what it appears, the GOP honestly believes the media is some evil entity, so the impression to most is that they simply didn't care. Sadder still, are the millions of Americans below the poverty line who have been fooled into believeing they are actually represented by this party.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  36. Bobby Seabrook

    I fell that the relationship between the United Staes and North Korea, which was destroyed by the Republican party, will be mended thanks to the Obama admistration and Bill Clinton. I am very happy that the two young ladies were released from prison due to Bill's involvement, welcome home.

    I am sure that the anti American Repulican party will try to find fault in their release, how un-American will that be if they do so???

    August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  37. Marty Edmunds

    The feminists and HIllary supporters should be pulling their hair out. After Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is totally ineffectual in gaining the release of the journalists and the North Koreans insult her by referring to her as a "school girl and pensioner," her husband is summoned as the person with enough standing to meet with Kim Jong -Il.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  38. Matthew Ross

    Heidi and Kyra went on and on about the reunion between Euna Lee and her 4 year old daughter. Is CNN going to cover the reunions of all of the US soliders who have been seperated from their children for months, knowing at the start of each day they may never see them again?

    August 5, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  39. F Joy

    My view is that with the untied powers of President Obama, Former President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, Former VP Al Gore, and countless others there is much that can be accomplished with our valued citizens, our country and the world and it's leaders. This is a coordinated step in a very positive direction for the US. Everyone benefits. Congratulations to the journalists and their families. Welcome home!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  40. Diana

    If we stop spending millions in dollars and diplomacy to rescue idiots that ignore State Department travel warnings, the idiots might start heeding these warnings!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  41. lane

    Am I the only person angry about these to women? They do something illegal and are now looked at as hero's. We should have left them in N.Korea longer! They created a huge international incident. They made the U.S look week! I think that the hikers in Iran should be left there too. These people are acting " STUPIDLY"


    August 5, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  42. Eileen Krajewski

    I resent journalists and politicians such as Bill Richardson referring to Euna Lee and Laura Ling as "girls" rather than as "women" or "young women." To use the term "girls" is to imply that they were irresponsible in getting into their recent predicament with North Korea. If their gender was male, they would never be referred to as "boys."

    August 5, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  43. Kevin Shanit

    The reunion between Euna Lee and her daughter was very picturesque and moving. She looks malnourished and emaciated. I can't imagine how they were treated– if they were fed, if they were threatened or terrorized, or if they were treated decently while there was communication between Clinton and N. Korea going on all along. They will also probably not be able to share all the details of what exactly went on inside the prison. (Buffalo, NY)

    August 5, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  44. Graeme Auton

    The return Laura Ling and Euna Lee will not have a significant impact on the long term trajectory of U.S.-North Korea relations. Bill Clinton's successful mission demonstrates a potential for pragmatic engagement that has always been there. At the same time, negotiations leading to the release of Ling and Lee played into Pyongyang's preferred strategy of dealing directly with the U.S. rather than returning - right now, anyway - to the Six Party Talks.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  45. F Joy

    My view is that with the united powers of President Obama, Former President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, Former VP Al Gore, and countless others there is much that can be accomplished with our valued citizens, our country and the world and it's leaders. This is a coordinated step in a very positive direction for the US. Everyone benefits. Congratulations to the journalists and their families. Welcome home!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  46. Joel Quebec

    While I feel for the families of Ling and Lee, they did break the law of a sovereign nation. I saw the footage Ms. Ling took on her previous visit to North Korea showing how people really live there as opposed to the scene the dictator preferes to set. However, knowing that this footage was aired and the Kim Song Il most likely saw it, why would she go there again expect the N. Koreans not to be waiting for her. The previous trip took courage, this last one wasn't the brightest decision. If it were my daughter in the same situation, I would welcome her back and let her know that although I missed her, she was not wise to go there again. I think a bit of time in jail would have been justified. Not 12 years, but not just 140 days either. Should they return again to N. Korea , they should be on their own.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  47. becky jake CA

    What a relief to have Laura Ling and Euna Lee safely home. This was a magnificently coordinated effort worthy of a Hollywood script.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  48. israel chery

    i just want to repeat President Obama's expression toward the heroism act of President Clinton & Vice-President Al Gore. "All American should be greatfull of Clinton & Al Gore."

    August 5, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  49. Jangmee Kim

    The translations between Korean and English are different. What Kim Jung Il and others are saying in Korean can't just be 'translated'. There are certain 'feelings' which can be lost in translation. I think details should come from the reporters individually, and in their own words.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  50. William Loiry

    President Clinton and Vice President Gore deserve the admiration of all Americans for their successful efforts to free the two American journalists. Perhaps this can be the beginning of more people-to-people dialogue with North Korea. People-to-people diplomacy helped end the Cold War. It can now help end a potentially horrific nuclear outcome with North Korea.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  51. Mike Kim

    As a transplanted Korean, I agree with former Defense Secretary Cohen when he said about Kim Jung il's body language. I can's help but feeling that Kim is very pleased to have President Clinton before him. He just couldn't hide his excitement with a big smile which he doesn't show very often. To think about it, Kim has many problems at home. He is very ill, he knows he can not live long, and his third son, who will take over the leadership is very young, in his early 20's. Kim is worried about the mess he created with neuclear issue. Kim needs to create a "normal" situation in his country before his death otherwise his son may have a strong opposition, or could be eliminated by someone in his own government. So, this is the best chance to do that. I am pretty sure President Clinton had a chance to talk variety of issues including neuclear issue, economic aid, normalizing relationship with South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. Kim has to do that before he dies in order to solidify his son's succession to the presidency.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  52. Sheri Horn-Strasner

    This is just another example of how blessed we are to have a President who is not only intelligent, but is truly a great leader. I hope that the
    American people will finally support this President & his adminstration &that the GOP will come to realize what real leadership looks like Maybe now they will start to act like adults & help this President out for the good of the country as oppossed to their own egos!!!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  53. Chris Lee

    It is so wonderful that Laura Ling and Euna Lee are home safely. However, I am appalled because there seems to be a double standard. What about David Goldman's plight to get his son from Brazil? He is an American citizen and deserves the same help in his crisis. This country and its status quo are so cruel and unfair to individuals who are not wealthy nor have celebrity status.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  54. Elena

    This isn't an example of diplomacy. What happened in North Korea this week is another example of another dictatorship or terrorist state getting it's way because of bribery and ruling by fear-NOT diplomacy. There were no "friendly talks" involved.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  55. eziaha iwueke

    in response to the comment that u.s does not negotiate for hostages, the comment that the obama admin went against this is wrong because there no negotiation.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  56. Carole

    I feel that North Korea wanted to talk eight years ago, until they were deemed Axis of Evil,

    North Korea seems to want to pick up where they left off eight years ago. Pre-Axis of Evil; Pre-turning a surplus into a deficit.

    Great story!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  57. Prince Afram-Woodbrige, Va.

    You know they say, when the river seems to flow quetly, it could also be that there are waging turbulence beneath.

    I believe this is happeninig because of what is going on in Iran. Kim Jong have come face to face with the reality that NK is next on the melting heat-pad.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  58. James Rhodes

    I am happy to hear that the journalists are back home safe and sound. Thanks to President Clinton and others for securing their release.

    One question though... Why do some of the people on the right spew their hatred because of this successful mission to secure the journalists' release?

    August 5, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  59. Mel - Rancho Mirage, California

    Heidi, this was the Korean President's chance to talk to an American President and get the cameras on him again which he loves. It is also clear to me that Bill Clinton is still the most skilled politician in this country and he should be used more often in foreign relations. Otherwise I do not think we gave them anything and it will be business as usual.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  60. preston

    Why should anybody with sound mind step on North Korea considering the frost relationship between them and usa?

    August 5, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  61. Tom Urbanski

    Heidi, why is everyone still putting on the "front" of these two young ladies "accidentally" going into North Korea. News agencies, (including you folks), have been sending people across "closed borders" to get stories forever - especially recently.

    Anyway, I'm glad they are back but I'm sure that part of the reason this took so long is that they probably had tape where, (just like Betty Nguyen did when illegally crossing a border recently), they put that fact on tape.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  62. Fran, Michigan

    It's wonderful that diplomacy not bombs, and opptomism not fear could bring together a dictator and the former president to a humanitarian ending. Kudos to President Clinton and the USA!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  63. Anita

    It's heartwarming to see these two journalists return home. However, this isn't about diplomacy. These women were used as pawns of the N. Korean government to create false good will. Anyone who believes a former U.S. president went on his own to win their freedom is delusional. The message we just sent to the world is that the U.S. is now willing to negotiate with terrorists. You negotiate with reasonable nations. Bullies still respond to only one thing, a stronger power. We just left the N. Koreans with the, hopefully, empty notion we can be manipulated.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  64. Linda

    I find it appalling that several of your viewers are calling these two women irreponsible, that an apology from them should be required, and that they are worried about the "cost" to get them back! Government dollars are spent every day on things of much less importance. Where is their patriotism???

    I am ecstatic they are finally safely home and reunited with their families. Kudos to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and of course President Obama – don't even think he didn't play a large part in the rescue of Captain Phillips from pirates!

    I doubt this will, or should, do anything to improve future relations with a country who thinks nothing of performing this type of immoral act to begin with.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  65. Eric

    Hi Heidi,

    Great reporting. Let me first say that I am very happy for Laura’s and Euna’s safe return to their families. It was an incridinle reunion. Obviously, the North Korean regime used this skillfully for yet another publicity stunt to boost their international prestige. I don’t think the regime expects much more than that—they are not as naïve as many commentators think.

    The bigger question, however, is whether this unfolding raises the stakes for similar situations in other countries (e.g., the three Americans held in Iran). Would the Iranian regime hold on to these Americans longer than it would otherwise in the hope of attracting direct involvement from President Clinton or other big shots to secure their release? Now, I doubt this will happen. But how would the families of these other American feel then? Just thoughts. But again, I’m very happy to see Laura’s and Euna’s safe return.

    Eric, New York

    August 5, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  66. Gary

    I would of liked to have been a fly on the wall at those talks to find out what the U.S. had to promise the North Koreans. I am grateful that the two reporters are home, but what did it cost Americans this time?

    August 5, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  67. Linda

    Thank God for someone like president Clinton, he is a humanitarian beyond words..this was not a political move but the administration needed to support our own.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  68. chris kiley

    H iHeidiI just wanted to know if you are a Viking fan because I have seen you wear purple on fridays.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  69. David

    Good morning Heidi, Very peaceable to wake up to the return of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. A beautiful reunion with their families. It's such a gentle thing to see Euna Lee holding her daughter, and to see the two women embracing their husbands and families. And yes you can tell as they are walking down the stairs into the hanger that they are completely overwhelmed by the sight of their loved ones who they haven't seen for the past 140 days and who they feared they might not see for 12 years. So simple and ordinary in many ways, but a joyous moment.

    I think these events, the long careful negotiations, as John Park noted are a sign that North Korea and the US can do things together. This might help give the North Koreans confidence to participate in the six party talks. The important pt is though that North Korea and the US can do things together.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  70. Sergio L

    these humanity efford made to bring these journalist it was great. my question is that. would it take a president to rescue us citizens everytime they are held hostage, for example in another country like Venezuela, Cuba, Iraq etc (us enemies)?Thanks !

    August 5, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  71. eunice chung

    What a wonderful moment! Finally they are back on American soil. When you watched the TV, you might realize the kim,Jungil's smiling face all the time whereas Bill Clinton's rigid facial expression. From this meeting North Korea earned a couple of things what they wanted. First of all they showed Kim,Jungil is still strong in both physically and mentally as a leader. Secondly,it looks like America and North Korea are on the table while North Korea has been isolated for a longtime but we have to remember they did not give up nuclear weapon yet. Overall,Bill Clinton's private mission has been completed but who's going to take care of the rest of the homework which dynamically related North Korea,America and South Korea?

    August 5, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  72. Levi

    These two journalists should not be treated as heroes. They decided to go into North Korea knowing the risks and knowing that what they were doing was illegal. They should not have been surprised to be arrested for it. Far from being heroes, their irresponsible actions have caused an unnecessary national headache.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  73. marie pierre

    Dear Euna and laura,

    I believe that you should write a book about this experience of your life. And why not a movie? You have so much to tell . Now, more than ever, you know how much you mean to your loved -ones...

    The most important thing right know is your freedom,enjoying life with your family, but never forget about forgiveness. I am very happy for you, girls, I have kept you in my prayer. I am very thinkful to the N-K government and the OBAMA administration.

    special thinks to mr GORE and president CLINTON.

    Jehovah s blessings upon you.

    Marie F PIERRE, from Rhode-Island.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  74. SJP in Phila, PA

    We should not forget that N Korea is the "nice guy" here. They're not terrorists in this case, nor did they kidnap the two journalists. The ladies were clearly in the wrong, they snuck into a country in which they were not allowed, for purposes which we would think would not be viewed favorably by N Korea.

    While we are all glad that they're safe back in the U.S., let's remember to say Thanks for pardoning the reporters. And maybe next time they won't sneak into a foreign country. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that you shouldn't be sneaking into N Korea at this particular time.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  75. SUE DANG

    Dear Heidi and all other CNN staff:

    What a great joy you brought this mornigng and caused many of us to have tears in our eyes, to see the moving scene of family reunions (esp. the little girl with her mom). Thanks for your effort to bring the live moment, and much more gratidue to Pres. Clinton and Vice. Pres. Al Gore and all otehr related staff in the matter.
    Regardless of the error may be made by 2 young journalists, I believe we should look at the incedent as a positive humanitarian efforts and aspect beyond any political viewpoint. May be also this incident could be used as a step stone for defrosting the political relationship between N. Korea and the US.
    I believe an old saying that there will be an happiness following after a disatrous event in our lives. BIG CHEERS & HUGS TO THE RETURNED JOURNALISTS and THEIR FAMILIES!!!!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  76. SUE DANG

    I do have another comment. There might be a discrepancy on translation and/or just simple delivery itself for the issues on 'APOLOGY' to N. Korean Gove. as it was pointed out during your program this morning.
    I'm very interested to look at the transcript to verify the original meaning and translation as a US court apporved Korean interpreter/translator (for about 20 yrs).
    Please advise me if you need my volunteer service. There are many Korean-Amrericans but it should not be considered that all of them are expert in both languages - because the Korean language is very tough to be translated into any Roman languages.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  77. ed

    Bolton like no other represents the failed policies of Cheney/Bush. The are gone for a reason, good riddence, now lets move on a fix the mess they/he left behind.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  78. Donna Mac

    It so wonderful to see America return to diplomacy and negotiation. War does not work, it makes things worse. I hope we're done with the cowboy mentaility forever.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  79. peter williams

    I find Bolton's comments to be outrageous in the extreme. Looking at all the things that he did not accomplish during his tenure, I assume that were he still in charge the two women would stay in jail in North Korea for the next 12 years. In addition, I see President Clinton's trip as positive in its own right. He may finally have opened a door that will allow negotiations and the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula

    August 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  80. matt

    Mr Boltons comments about President Clintons visit and success is an exact example of why Mr Bolton was not a success in his previous position.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  81. Joe Bailey

    Mr. Bolton is dead wrong on this. He and the former president are the problem here with their cowboy sheriff attitude. They cannot stand it that someone can do what they did not have the brains to do. The real story here is two young ladies have been returned to their families.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  82. Starr

    I think that this was a smart move on the part of whoever organized this trip, if it was the State Department or the White House. I think that it was a good move for the administration to distance themselves from North Korea by sending Bill Clinton, who everyone knows does not have an official post in the Obama administration. This way, they cannot be accused of aligning themselves with a hostile nation and the trip cannot be misinterpreted as something more than a humanitarian mission. There were many benefits to this trip. In particular, it opens up a bit of dialogue between North Korea and the US. Secondly, it allows us to get a bit of insight into the temperament of Kim Jong Il and his government. Thirdly, it shows a different side of the United States that the world has not seen for a while – a more diplomatic United States who won't just swoop in and attack a country because it has something we want. The only bad thing I can see from this is that there are several more American people who are being held in captivity all around the world. They may view this as a sign of hope that they will someday be freed, but it could also be false hope, maybe even anger, because some have been held for years and the United States government has not sent such an important person to secure their release. While this may have been more than just securing the release of the 2 journalists, I think that it was important that this mission succeeded and succeeded with the least number of people knowing about it beforehand.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  83. Ed Toney

    Poor John Bolton, the release of these two women and how it was accomplished destroys everything this man believes in and stands for..thank god reasonable people understand the difference or these two women would have been written off as casalties of a failed international policy. Nice job Bill and to all those who worked to free them.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  84. Victor

    I'm shocked that anyone on the right side of the aisle who says they are "pro-life" can possibly consider this to be a bad thing. Former President Clinton just saved two lives, how is this in any way a bad thing?

    August 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  85. Eddie G3

    You in the news room... need John Bolton to take a great and humanitarian story and spin it into something controversial. Soon or later the tornado of spin caused by news rooms trying to make chicken salad out of chicken bones will do some damage that's irreversible. Report the news and stop trying to create it!

    August 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  86. Kas Appiah

    I wonder if some people are and will be one day able to acknowledge the goodness in their adversary and make them look like human beings. Bolton is just living in the ancient times. If it is not his way it is not a way . He was at the UN before and could not accomplish any helpful mission for his country and he is bitter about others success. You media should not allow this kind of creature poison the happiness of the journalists family. He is not carrying the load of being held in prison, so he does not know the weight. Shame on Bolton because you do not even deserve to be called Mr.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  87. matt

    What just because they are american journalists, that gives them special permission to trespass in a foriegn country?

    The U S Needs to take a lesson from North Korea in dealing with illegals. (maybe North Korea just does'nt want their country to look like southern California)

    And by the way, where is our secratary of state? Is Bill the one really getting the government paycheck? How much did this little ordeal cost in taxpayer dollars?

    August 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  88. Dante

    Bolton is an angry war monger and should be given no attention. He was a failure in office and he is a loud mouth in private life. Jon Stewart put him in his place on more than one occassion, and so should CNN.

    August 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  89. Nwachukwu, G.

    John, Bolton's comment is ill -concived at this time. He may be one of those who want the status quo maintained. These women are wives, mothers, daugthers, sisters, friends etc to someone. President Clinton should be commended and not condenmed by Mr. Bolton. Afterall what major deplomatic victory can he lay claim when he was the United Nations Ambassador?

    August 5, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  90. winston

    It is absolutely terrific to see Laura Ling and Euna Lee back home where they belong,and it is shameless to hear John Bolton trying to put their release in a negative tone.he should be overjoyed and as happy as the rest of America about these ladies being back home. nothing but good came from this and thanks to President Clinton,V.P. Al Gore,and President Obama for their efforts to gain the release of our American citizens.I applaud them all.

    August 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  91. Richard (American in Toronto)

    When you are asked by the main stream media to endure commentary of the likes of John R. Bolton on President Clinton's irreproachable success in obtaining the journalists' release, do not forget what was written about him by members of Congress back in 2006:

    "...Under Mr. Bolton's watch, North Korea - the most immediate threat to the United States in the area of nonproliferation - has become significantly more dangerous. The Bush Administration's most touted success in this area - the disarmament of Libya - came about because Mr. Bolton was kept off the case, not because he was on it."
    quoting from "Minority Views of Senators Biden, Sarbanes, Dodd, Kerry, Feingold, Boxer, Nelson And Obama on the Nomination Of John R. Bolton to be United States Representative to the United Nations"

    Full article:

    August 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  92. J

    It was another brilliant move by President Obama to send Bill Clinton to set the North Koreans straight! Way to go "Wild Bill"!

    August 5, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  93. Liberal4Obama

    This once again proves republicans could care less about America/Americans. As long as their Corporate Masters, Haliburton and BlackWater are well fed, healthy and making billions in profits nothing else matters to them

    August 5, 2009 at 4:30 pm |

    It is not funny that Mr bolton still could not see beyond his nose! Him and others like him who misadvised and misinformed president Bush in all his foreign policies should know that Americans do not Listen to them any longer. This time for him to use his time wisely. Thank YOU president Clinton. We need more peole like you.

    August 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  95. Juan

    Hi Heidi,

    I'm glad that Euna Lee and Laura Ling are back home safely. I think what people often forget is that, unlike the American students arrested in Iran, these two young ladies were investigating a big story on HUMAN TRAFFICKING which is becoming a bigger business than drugs & guns trafficking these days. As reporters, they knew the risks but they were not vacationing or hiking like these other idiots. How common is it to go hiking in Iran anyway?? You should be arrested for a total lapse in judgment like that!! And I thought those students were smart. But don't worry kids, here comes Prez Bill to the rescue again!! I sure hope you have connections in high places!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  96. George Brody

    Everybody is happy to see that the two young women were released. But: Why on the Earth do people (even journalists, who should know better) disregard the State Department's Travel Advisory (and all common sense), sneak into a hostile and foreboding country like North Korea and create an International conflict?

    Let's hope that other people learn from this incidence and stay away from it.

    George Brody
    San Clemente, CA 92672

    August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  97. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    It seems that the heroes were the family of Laura Ling and Euna Lee the American Journalists. It seems to me that their families had sort of review their obligations as family to Americans that sadly thanks to politics or any other excuse have forgotten their obligations. I am happy that Laura Ling and Euna Lee have come back home to America. I hope they will find their way back home easy. I hope they have found the professional help they need and their families too. This is not an issue for one individual. In my opinion the whole community needs to be sensible to these ladies and their families too. It takes a village to make things work.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  98. SUE DANG

    Let's look at what made the jouralists cross the border. Who send the ladies to that risky areas? Weren't they dispatched by the current TV company?? Also, we should examine if the report of crossing the border is tru or not. It could be exaggeration or someting else from what the N. Korea commited in the past.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  99. Arnie

    Am glad the two are back home with their families.
    It gave us one big sigh of relief.
    In retrospect, they should not have been there in North Korea in the first place.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  100. Rev Ray Dubuque

    Liberal4Obama, your comment is so fitting that it bears repeating:
    "This once again proves republicans could care less about America/Americans. As long as their Corporate Masters, Haliburton and BlackWater are well fed, healthy and making billions in profits nothing else matters to them."

    August 7, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  101. Kim

    I agree with some that these two journalists were irresponsible. They should be embarrassed of themselves for putting our country in this position. I hope that the media will stop paying attention to their story.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  102. Shane Bellomy

    Yea i just wanna say that those two journalist should spend at least one year hard labor.They knew what they were doing when they snuck into a COMMUNIST COUNTRY they are really two of the most self indulgent people ive heard of.That and they took the North Korean's as being stupid.Please tell the world my thought's

    August 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  103. Dirk Peddler

    Yes, I'm glad they got released but lets not forget they did break the law in North Korea, so why a heroes welcome? Come on, we are building walls at our borders to keep people out that shouldn't be here, so why is their voluntary crossing of a border in a country where they did not have permission to cross inot any different?

    August 13, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  104. Kelly Chang44

    They shouldn't have broken the law, they wouldn't have been in the mess they found themselves in and we, the taxpayer wouldn't be out loads of money or is Current picking up the tab since they were there on their assignment?

    August 13, 2009 at 11:37 am |

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