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'Intense interrogation' for Current TV reporters

Current TV’s Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were captured by the North Koreans, are undergoing “intense interrogation,” a South Korean newspaper reports.

According to the AP, South Korea’s mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said the American women had crossed the border from China while reporting on North Korean refugees.

They were taken to Pyongyang a day after their arrest, and were being held at a guest house run by the military intelligence agency on the outskirts of the capital, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed South Korean intelligence officer.

North Korean investigators were checking the journalists’ cameras, video tapes and notebooks to try to establish if they had been spying on the North’s military facilities, the report said.

North Korea “will not treat the female journalists harshly, although they will undergo intense interrogation,” the paper quoted another unnamed South Korean intelligence officer as saying.

Current TV is based in San Francisco. It was started by former vice president Al Gore and former Ohio legal services mogul Joel Z. Hyatt, now of Atherton.

UPDATE, 10 a.m. — AP reports that the U.S. State Department has received assurances from the North Korean government that the women will be treated well. State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters this morning that the United States has asked Swedish diplomats in North Korea to request access to Ling and Lee. The United States does not have a diplomatic presence in North Korea.

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