Eccentric basketball star Dennis Rodman's bizarre outburst about an American citizen jailed in North Korea has drawn widespread criticism, including from the prisoner's family. CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.
Rodman drew disdain from the White House with Press Secretary Jay Carney saying "I am not going to dignify that outburst with a response."
He was also disavowed by U.S. diplomats.
Jen Psaki, State Dept. spokeswoman said: "Mr. Rodman is not there representing the United States. People should remember that when they look at his comments and hear his comments."
But who is prisoner Kenneth Bae and why is he being held by North Korea?
Those are the questions for many following the combative exchange Tuesday between Dennis Rodman and Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day," who asked whether the former NBA player was planning to inquire about Bae, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp.
In response, Rodman, who is in North Korea with a team of fellow former NBA players, suggested the Korean-American had done something wrong, but did not specify what.
"Do you understand what he did in this country?" Rodman asked Cuomo. "No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why?"
Bae's sister, Terri Chung, told "New Day" Wednesday, "I was shocked by his words and I'm not sure where he's getting his information and how much credence I would give to his outburst. He's certainly not a diplomat and not an authority on this case at all. I don't think he has any, in any kind of position to remark on his case, especially after making it clear he has no intention to help."
Born in South Korea, Bae immigrated at age 16 to the United States with his parents, his mother told CNN.
The 44-year-old Bae, of Lynwood, Washington, moved to China in 2005. A year later he established "Nations Tour," a China-based tour company that specialized in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a website established by friends to promote his release.
Described by his sister as a devout Christian, Bae is married and the father of three children.
"Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the website said. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism."
Bae had guided at least 15 tour groups, mostly made up of Americans and Canadians, into North Korea at the time of his arrest, his family has said.
Bae was on the first day of a five-day tour when he was arrested November 3, 2012, in Rason, an area along the northeastern coast of North Korea that has been established by Pyongyang as a special economic zone to promote trade and investment.
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