Andy Barr at Politico:
North Korea has ordered the release of the two American journalists detained since May following former President Bill Clinton’s meeting Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
According to North Korea’s state news agency, the two journalists – Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36 – were pardoned after being visited by the former president.
“Kim Jong Il issued an order of the Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission on granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labor in accordance with Article 103 of the Socialist Constitution and releasing them,” read the report from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.
Clinton met with Kim shortly after landing in Pyongyang Tuesday.
The former president, in a surprise visit, supplied Kim with a verbal message from President Barack Obama. The report said Clinton’s message was “courteously” conveyed. Thus far, neither the White House or the State Department has given any details about what message Obama sent to Kim or whether it touched on tensions created by North Korea's budding nuclear weapons program.
Kim and the former president then sat down for what the state media described as a “wide-ranging exchange
Following his meeting with Kim, Clinton spoke in person to the two journalists, according to ABC News, which cited a government source.
“This is thrilling it’s a wonderful opportunity for these two women to come back to America,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said shortly after the journalists’ release during an interview on MSNBC.