Matthew Todd Miller: North Korea says imprisoned American wanted to become "second Snowden."

North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”

North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”

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Sept. 20 2014 12:00 PM

North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”

Matthew Todd Miller sits in a witness box during his trial at the North Korean Supreme Court in Pyongyang on Sept. 14.


Matthew Todd Miller, who was sentenced last week to six years of hard labor by a North Korea court, wanted to become famous. That’s what North Korea state media claims in a lengthy report Saturday, saying the 25-year-old from Bakersfield, California, hates the country’s regime and sought to become a prisoner to then expose supposed human rights violations and meet U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“He perpetrated the above-said acts in the hope of becoming a world famous guy and the second Snowden through intentional hooliganism,” according to KCNA, reports CNN. Snowden was granted asylum by Russia after leaking classified U.S. government documents. “The crime committed by Miller Matthew Todd was prompted by his sinister political aim to deliberately slander the DPRK,” added the state media report.


Miller had moved to South Korea around four years ago and, according to KCNA, developed “inveterate hostility” toward the North while living unemployed in Seoul. Yet the report that runs to almost 1,200 words insists his nefarious plot wasn’t the action of a lone, crazy man but rather from someone who was sent by the United States to spy. And state media insists Miller is hardly an isolated case, as the United States is constantly violating the country’s sovereignty.

“The shameful tradition of the U.S. in which it was hit hard and sustained heavy setbacks by the DPRK historically and the latter’s proud tradition in which it meted out a stern judgment to the former, the kingpin of plot-breeding, are given steady continuity and these law-governed two traditions will last forever,” the state media report said.

Earlier this week, Robert King, the special U.S. envoy for North Korean human rights issues, said Pyongyang has rejected Washington offers to send a high-level official to the country to secure the release of three Americans. “North Korea could indeed be holding out for a former U.S. president to visit, which would be something of a diplomatic coup for young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” points out the Associated Press. “He has yet to meet a world leader.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.