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Episode 474: The North Korea Files

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Episode 474: The North Korea Files

Podcast

Episode 474: The North Korea Files

Episode 474: The North Korea Files

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/204851751/204977150" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
A request for a good from North Korea.
Office of Foreign Assets Control

U.S. citizens who want to buy stuff from North Korea have to write a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. As regular listeners know, we're sort of obsessed with North Korea. So we decided to try to get those letters.

Several months ago, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request. It worked! We recently got a stack of heavily redacted letters.

On today's show: we try to figure out who sent the letters, why they wanted to do business with North Korea, and what that tells us about the North Korean economy.

We posted all of the letters here.

Music: Duran Duran's "Notorious." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.