May 19, 2010

Laura Ling's rescue: Behind-the-scenes

Posted: 07:21 PM ET

Laua and Lisa Ling speak out on tonight's Larry King Live about Laura's capture (along with colleague Euna Lee) by North Korean guards and their eventual release 140 days later.

The Lings shared some behind-the-scenes photos from the plane ride with President Clinton, who led the envoy to North Korea to ask for their release.

Tune in tonight at 9pm ET / 6pm PT to hear what really happened...

Filed under: Larry King Live • Uncategorized

Share this on:
Smith in Oregon   May 19th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

How reckless was pushing the limits of a hotly contested border on a nation which is technically still at war with its neighbors?

What personal responsibility does Laura Ling's and Euna Lee have and confess to having on this foobar and fiasco.

Dodie   May 19th, 2010 9:12 pm ET

Throughout history totalitarian and autocratic regimes have always existed. Competent and talented journalists, who are willing to risk their lives to expose the horrors of mankind also continue! Laura and Lisa Ling are some of those journalists both beautiful and talented. I admire Laura's courage and willingness to risk her life in order to expose what she believed to be atrocities residing within the DPRK.

The only concern I have is with Laura crossing the river that divides China and the DPRK ....... her actions could have created negative consequences 'rippling' throughout the world, like a stone tossed into a pond. The relationship between the DPRK and the US was and still is at a 'wave' of potential conflict. I am very familiar with that area of the world. It is well known in China among the people, never to cross that river into the DPRK. It would be interesting to find out how a guide was summoned!

I applaud not only Laura Ling's courageous act of journalism, but all the journalists that preceded her in their acts of heroism in searching for the truth. Thank You!

Smith in Oregon   May 19th, 2010 9:12 pm ET

It is fairly common for North Korea to have its agents over the border crossing in China where they routinely target North Korean defector leaders and either murder them or drag them back to North Korea to a grisly end.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee sounds to have correctly guessed their 'guide' was likely a North Korean agent who had tricked them into illegally crossing the clearly visible border area but only after they had already 'crossed into North Korea'.

I suspect the Iranian Hikers likewise were duped by an Iranian agent who tricked those hikers into illegally crossing into Iran where they were captured and taken to prison.

Louis   May 19th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

If Lisa Ling were not a known journalist what are the chances that Laura was to be released?

Alyssa   May 19th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

I want to ask Laura if she has ever second guessed her decision to write this book and earn profits from it, since her actions were so irresponsible and posed serious risk to many other individuals as well as the US/DPRK relationship.

M. Archangel   May 19th, 2010 9:35 pm ET

I think it was rude that after the rescue they made no comments about the experience. Now months later when they've written a book, then out comes the whole story. The American public worried and prayed for their return and when they returned they were silent on the details.
$$$$$ It looks like a money motive and they shouldn't have done it like that.

Richard   May 19th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

Does anyone beside me feel the entire event that perpetuated the situation in North Korea was the result of irresponsible and or unrealistic behavior, which required this country to spend a lot of capital to resolve?

Dodie   May 19th, 2010 9:52 pm ET

This should be eye opening for Americans. Who does the DPRK request and want to meet? President Clinton! He is loved all around the world. There are statutes of President Clinton all over China as the Chinese people love and respect him. Thank You President Clinton from bringing this potential disaster to a successful closure.

Why is President Clinton more popular outside of the US then inside? What does the world know about President Bill Clinton that many Americans do not?

John H   May 19th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

While I applaud the efforts of journalists the world over to bring the truth to the rest of the world, I suspect that Laura and Euna have in addition to a concern for the plight of North Koreans attempting to flee North Korea, also had a desire to earn a name for themselves in the journalistic community. I find this type of journalism similar to the practice of our Native Americans in Counting Coup on their enemies. This was a practice used by our Native Americans to demonstrate their bravery and manhood but also carried with it the possiblity that their enemies could turn the tables on them. This type of effort can result in consequences that are serious in nature for the individual(s) attempting to earn their spurs so to speak. When things go bad, we always seem to hear a lot of cries for mercy and claims of we didn't really mean it. With governments such the Peoples Republic of North Korea, we often find little sympathy for these cries. I disapprove of these type actions which are tantamount to waving the proverbial red flag in the bull's face.

Mary-Jane   May 19th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

@ Richard @ Smith in Oregon @ Dodie

You are absolutely correct. Laura Ling could have been the spark that ignited a raging fire between the US and the North Korea with this type of foolish behavior!

I would recommend that the proceeds from Laura Ling's book should first go to repay the American Tax-payers who furnished the Jet aircraft and staff along with the secret service that accompanied President Bill Clinton.

Ken   May 19th, 2010 10:36 pm ET

I concur with the responsibility theme. Laura Ling shows no shame or remorse for her reckless and incompetent actions in creating an international incident. A huge amount of time, money and resources were spent to bail her out and she now wants to get paid.

Absolutely ridiculous!

A sad commentary on personal responsibility in America –

IKHAN   May 19th, 2010 10:45 pm ET

Right & I agree.
However its a little disappointing to see that a human drama of moral courage against a repressive regime that's playing out off the shores of Israel is totally ignored by our media & thus by Americans.
A group of peace loving & brave people from Ireland,Sweden,Greece,Turkey & some other European countries have organized sending medicines,food & other items of badly needed necessities to the besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
The govt of Israel as it brutally did in the past has vowed to not let this happen & do everything possible to prohibit the ship carrying aid to enter even the international waters off its shores. This despite appeals from the govts of the countries involved & UN relief agency
These brave people who will be on the ship have vowed on the other hand, to get the aid to those desperately needing it as stated by one of its organizers,Greta Berlin.
no one can say for now, how this great effort of people helping people not necessarily of their own race or creed would unfold. But it does restore one's confidence in mankind in these times of hatred for one another. The world (not us) watches.

Idzan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   May 19th, 2010 11:25 pm ET


You are right about Prez Clinton being more poular outside the US.
We know about his scandals, but somehow we excused him.
i have all his biographies and also his missus.
I hope Hillary will be the next President after Prez. Obama.
I even like Chelsea and cant wait to see her wedding on TV.
She happens to share my son's birthday.

For me Prez Clinton and the Kennedys are so close to my heart.
Also kept a scrapbook of all the Kennedys.
i even cried for the tragedies befellling them.
i remember taking our family photographs at the Kennedy compound when we visited Hyannis Port and Martha's Vineyard.
Also visited the church when JFK married Jackie in Newport, R.I.
Not long after we got back from Massachussetts for my daugther's graduation, John Jr's plane crashed.
Of course I cried.

And now the world loves Prez Obama.
We cringe when we hear or see Americans condemning him..
By extension, we love Michelle and the kids too.
Cant have enough ot them..
Hope Ptez Obama will visit our country.
The last visit of an American president to our country was Prez Lyndon Johnson.
He had the biggest land scheme in our country named after him.
I was too young then, but I remember reading the news that we have to buy a special bed to accomodate his height.

Btw, Martha Stewart is in town for our Tourism gala.
She was hosted and feted by our Queen.
She's also my fave American. Never mised her shows.

Jan Richards   May 20th, 2010 12:39 am ET

I find the Ling sisters less concerned about the outrageous error of judgement and more concerned about making money??? I also find their stories about poor food, how horrible it was to be there for 140 days etc. etc almost comical compared to the YEARS American POW's were allowed to rot in Viet Nam. My mother was right– it isn't what you but who you know that makes the difference, and that is very sad.

Dodie   May 20th, 2010 12:47 am ET

@ Idzan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Your knowledge of American politics is remarkable! I suspect you know more about our history than many of our school age children. Actually that is pretty sad.
You are right on target, people around the world loved the Kennedys and Bill Clinton. They have statues of them everywhere.... More than we do here in the US. I always find that very unique.

Clinton's scandals were of a personal nature. His scandals had nothing to do with endangering or destruction of this country. Since his administration, from 2000-2008, we have been slowly dismantled....piece by piece. If you want some added information to think about, google "PNAC youtube" or just "PNAC" You might find this very interesting and it will answer a lot of questions.

I always enjoy reading your insightful posts.

richard halpin   May 20th, 2010 12:54 am ET

Have you been able to prove your guide was a plant?

Dodie   May 20th, 2010 1:01 am ET


I completely agree with you. Both the BBC and CCTV stated the UN has warned Israel of the Palestinians in Gaza facing a serious health and food crisis. I find this very disturbing to say the least!

Chan   May 20th, 2010 1:02 am ET

However it occurred, it seems by your own accord that you knew you had crossed the border illegally with your "fixer". After much effort and money spent by US taxpayers, you were brought back to the United States and reunited with your family.

The North Korean government has demonstrated their compassion to you, they never asked you to cross into their country, yet you were let go without any consequences. You were given exceptional treatment. Do the right thing and donate 100% of the book proceeds to North Korean defectors and their families who are the very essence of the story you were trying to get last year.

Be an example of humility, not the self-serving interests you claim you were putting yourself at risk to expose at the DMZ. Don't be another example of how efficiently a good story can be turned into a quick profit and good publicity.

Dave   May 20th, 2010 3:29 am ET

LOL. You got 3 meals a day of rice, a small bowl of soup, and a small piece of fish. Hmmmm... my wife is South Korean and she eats the exact same thing every day!!!! In fact most of the 40+ million South Koreans eat exactly that!!!! But for some reason it's worthy enough to write a book about. What a disgrace the Ling sisters are. Quite a family!

Dave   May 20th, 2010 3:31 am ET

@ richard halpin

Richard, that was just a fib to make the whole thing sound more dramatic and to take the blame off of their own shoulders for their own selfish mistakes.

Charlene   May 20th, 2010 3:45 am ET

I'm glad to see my fellow Americans and Patriots recognize the outlandish and recklessly selfish behavior of these women – made worse by them peddling a book about it and gleefully and shamelessly telling their story/plugging their book.

It's pretty sickening, I must admit.

Who knows how many truly innocent American lives will be lost because this woman knowingly committed a criminal act, and her sister lied to the American Public about it – saying it was unintentional – while the sister freely and happily admits to committed a criminal act. It's just so unpatriotic and UnAmerican it is actually making me physically ill to I won't. I'm going to go pray for the real American Heroes, those who willfully serve their country in hostile territories and lay down their lives for our freedoms....even the freedom to be selfish, stupid and then capitalize on it. Truly sickening.

(I'll bet Former President Clinton is sickened, too, now knowing how he was used just to see these girl's book. Look how Happy and Elated Lisa Ling is to exclaim her story - she is actually drooling with delight - this is horrific - beyond Shameful!!)

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   May 20th, 2010 5:04 am ET

Yes, I wonder if they would donate the proceeds of their book back to the cause in which they were trying to help. Wouldn't that be good.

Great photos by the way.

Idzan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   May 20th, 2010 7:09 am ET


I agree with you. The two sisters seem to be basking in the blaze of publicity.
I think it's not right to be back-biting another country. You should be thankful that you are released.
After all, you trespassed into their border!
Why is Euna not there? She should be the one with Laura.
Her sister should be only in the background or in a phone interview. She's plenty pretty though.

Ted   May 20th, 2010 8:39 am ET

We could cut down this kind of reckless disregard for the laws of other countries with the law that says:
If an american commits a crime in a foreign land and is sentenced, she or she must serve time in US jail if he or she comes home and when that crime commited is also a crime in the USA!!
Crossing our borders illegally is a crime and intention to spy is also a crime, therefore those "girls" should go to jail!

We have no rights to know how other people live and the First Amendment stops at our borders. All our journalists should know this and just being an american does not give you the rights to put your nose into other people´s business. Get accreditation first.

Dodie   May 20th, 2010 11:29 am ET


Well stated. I suspect the average American would not be rescued due to their reckless behavior; however, because Lisa Ling was already well known had a lot do to with our spending the time and money rescuing these two very foolish journalists. Oh and Lisa Ling chiming in on the money profiteering, I find very interesting.

The proceeds from their book should be donated back to the cause in which they were trying to advocate.” After all, they were passionate enough to risk life and limb, so why not money???

What kind of message are we sending to the world by supporting this irresponsible behavior?

IKHAN   May 20th, 2010 3:11 pm ET


well stated.I quite agree.

Tim   May 30th, 2010 5:33 am ET

To portray these two young women as "victims" is just plain wrong. The true and ONLY victims here are those poor women whom were videotaped by Laura and Euna and then summarily exuecuted. Now the Lings have a book deal and will profit off the BLOOD of others. 12 years of hard larbor seems like a gift in comparison. To hear "poor" Laura's tale of being brutalized---–BOO-HOO. Maybe they can take some of their book money and help the children whose mothers were murdered because of these two. I have never posted any message anywhere before and probably not do so again. I just wanted to let Larry know he lost a viewer this evening with his pandering to two overprivledged women making a profit. PLEASE DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!!!!!!

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
Barnes & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP