More disappointment for John Bolton

The former U.N. ambassador's fears about Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea were apparently not realized

Published August 5, 2009 5:45PM (EDT)

As noted earlier, one-time U.N. Ambassador John Bolton wasn't exactly wild about former President Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea, even if it did get two American journalists released from detention and 12 years of hard labor.

Specifically, Bolton worried that Clinton's vist "comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists," and -- though the administration repeatedly emphasized that the former president's trip was a private one and he was not representing the government -- in the Washington Post, he wrote, "[I]t seems that the Obama administration not only chose to negotiate, but to send a former president to do so."

Bolton's ideological comrade, Charles Krauthammer, took a similar position, saying on Fox News Tuesday night, "[I]t was a hostage ransom. No question at all."

Except, oops -- maybe not.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs got a question about this at his briefing on Wednesday. Here's the exchange:

Q Did President Clinton have -- and you may have discussed this on the call last night -- any authorization to make any kind of offers or suggestions for rewards for releasing these journalists?

MR. GIBBS: There were no messages that were passed.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Bill Clinton North Korea War Room