Bill Clinton had nothing to do with the release of captured journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. George Bush Jr. or Sr. could have done. Jimmy Carter could have done it. Ronald Reagan or Gerald Ford could have done it if either one was still alive. The only requirement was that somebody with the stature of an ex-president visit N. Korea and treat with Kim Jong Il. Once on the ground Clinton and Kim could have talked about golf, the virtues of the Big Mac or whatever else they wanted to for 30 minutes and it wouldn't have had any effect on the end result.
The North Korean regime is playing the game of international diplomacy. Anybody with half a brain and any knowledge of how these things work would have predicted that the N. Koreans would give up Ling and Lee given the proper payoff. The payoff here was an ex-president and with him the inevitable suggestion of legitimacy.