Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller, Released by North Korea, Are Back on U.S. Soil
North Korea released two Americans who had been accused of trying to subvert the secretive state, after the director of national intelligence for the United States, James R. Clapper Jr., flew to the country on a secret mission and departed on Saturday with the men aboard his aircraft.
In a terse statement issued by Mr. Clapper’s office, the Americans — Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller — were described as “on their way home, accompanied by D.N.I. Clapper.” Their plane landed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Wash., about 9:15 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday.
Mr. Bae walked off the plane and into the embrace of relatives on the tarmac. Mr. Miller, his head shaved, sprinted down the steps into the arms of his parents, who were waiting for him at the bottom.
Securing the releases was an unusual role for Mr. Clapper, the nation’s most senior intelligence official, whose job is to coordinate policy and operations among the nation’s 16 spy agencies. Gruff, blunt-speaking and seen by many in the Obama administration as a throwback to the Cold War, the retired general is an unlikely diplomat but, in the words of one American official, “perfect for the North Koreans.”