Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Google CEO Eric Schmidt have embarked on what is described as a "private delegation" to North Korea.
The problem is this private delegation seems to have a very public purpose, inasmuch as Richardson, Schmidt, and others are meeting with "North Korean political, economic, and military leaders."
Another indicator of the importance of this trip comes from the U.S. State Dept., a spokesperson for which says Schmidt's undisclosed role in the trip is "unhelpful."
There have been rumors that part of the goal of Richardson's trip was to bring back a South-Korean born American citizen whom North Korea who has held hostage since November 2012. However, Richardson himself downplayed securing that gentleman's release on this trip.
Are Richardson and Schmidt acting as official emissaries of the Obama administration? Are they representing the United States in a capacity reserved for cabinet members and other U.S. officials?