Did Obama fail at freeing Americans imprisoned in North Korea?


No, this is false.


State Department


We all watched in awe as three Americans detained by North Korea, landed on U.S. soil. Since the beginning of May the president has mentioned multiple times about freeing the hostages, tweeting President Obama tried to do it, but failed. All over social media people are questioning, did Obama really fail at freeing those three men?

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To get the answer, 11Alive news partner WUSA checked with the State Department and it turns out two of the hostages were detained in April and May of 2017 during the Trump administration, which wouldn't make it possible that Obama couldn't have freed them, since he was not in the Oval Office.

A spokesperson issued the following statement:

On May 9 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang and secured the release of three Americans: Kim Dong Chul, Kim Sang Duk (Tony Kim), and Kim Hak Song. We welcome their release and view this as a sign of goodwill from Kim Jong Un that puts us on the right track for a successful summit.

The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.We are grateful for the support of the Government of Sweden, our protecting power in Pyongyang, which has tirelessly advocated for U.S. citizens in need in the DPRK. We send our special thanks to the Swedish Ambassador to the DPRK, Ambassador Wendel, and his team for their tireless efforts on behalf of our citizens.On behalf of the State Department and the entire United States government, we wish these Americans and their families the best as they reconnect after this difficult period apart. They have been through a tremendous ordeal. As they are reunited with their families, I ask that you give them the space and time to tell their stories when and if they are ready.

We then took a closer look at Obama's record. Government officials confirmed ten Americans were released from North Korea during his administration. You might have seen the number eleven floating around, but the State Department has no record of that 11th person ever being detained in the first place.

WUSA9 News researchers verified this tweet saying Obama failed at freeing the three men from North Korea—that's false.