Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) - It is a government cloaked in secrecy, which made North Korea's decision to grant a CNN crew rare access to three American captives all the more stunning.
Kenneth Bae, Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle were each presented for five minute interviews with CNN's Will Ripley. Bae pleaded for help from the US government. Miller described his situation as "urgent." And Fowle acknowledged he was desperate to get back to his family.
The men all say they were speaking freely, but that notion is being met with heavy skepticism and with good reason. North Korea has long used its detainees as pawns in a bizarre chess match with US officials.
So just what exactly does their government hope to gain by granting these interviews and how should the Obama administration react?
Philip Yun, former North Korea Adviser under President Clinton and Executive Director of Ploughshares, joined CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" to discuss.