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U.S. Intelligence Chief Describes Mission to North Korea

“The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., on Sunday described his secret mission to seek the release of two Americans held in North Korea as a series of grim encounters with officials who expressed disappointment that he had not come bearing a “breakthrough” in relations,” the New York Times reports.  

“But he said the North Koreans wanted someone currently in government, and with national security credentials. Also, he noted, he knows South Korea well as a former director of intelligence for American forces there. The intelligence chief said he was greeted at the state guesthouse in central Pyongyang by the minister of state security — the highest-ranking official with whom he would meet — and an interpreter. It quickly became clear, he said, that ‘they were disappointed, frankly, that I didn’t have some breakthrough.'”  

“The release of the two men was seen as a sign that the young and unpredictable North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, hoped to ease the deep chill in the countries’ relationship.”

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