Spy or Tourist… or Missionary?
Kenneth Bae and Mathew Miller were released by North Korea yesterday. US Director of Intelligence, James Clapper, flew to North Korea unannounced and returned with the two imprisoned Americans. The question of whether these two were spies or tourists or missionaries gone astray is so far left unanswered.
Both had said they were tourists (Bae was a tour organizer) but North Korea alleged they engaged in unlawful activity. Hmmm. In North Korea, spying and evangelizing count as unlawful activity.
The arrest and detention of American tourists has happened enough times previously that other than spying, I can think of no good reason for anyone to visit the People’s Republic. I wonder what these two were thinking?
Taking pictures, attempting to speak with locals on subjects potentially confidential, or visiting restricted areas all could be interpreted by North Koreans as unfriendly acts. Discussing the Bible, however, seems more a nuisance than a threat to the State.
Running around brandishing a Bible in Pakistan or Iran or dozens of other Muslim countries could get someone stoned to death or imprisoned for life. Muslim Countries often view pro-Bible activity as an affront to Allah, and that is bad news.
North Korea, like any good Communist country is technically “godless”. North Korea’s reaction seems totally predictable. Why should they tolerate impolite behavior from guest visitors who persist in evangelizing knowing full well that such acts exhibit both poor manners and illegal activity. Hmmm.
So, coming full circle, isn’t that what spies do? Do not spies look for deception to provide cover for their clandestine acts? Is it possible these two were involved in secret communications with the North Korean regime?
If, on the other hand, Bae and Miller were just exuberant missionaries, the US should deem their conduct as extremely foolish, confiscate their passports, and never allow them to travel overseas again.
I would think the Director of Intelligence has better things to do with his time.
Or, does he?