The U.S. government has apparently changed its tune toward Dennis Rodman.
Rodman, who visited North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un in February, says he subsequently met with the FBI and was asked to help the agency with information amid rising international tensions surrounding the communist nation’s nuclear intentions.
“They wanted to know what went on and who’s really in charge in North Korea,” Rodman told the Miami Herald during a recent charity event. “I have been invited back to North Korea in August, and I want to go.”
The White House initially reacted to Rodman’s trip with skepticism, saying the North Korean government should be focused on the well-being of its citizens and not “celebrity sporting events” to entertain the country’s elite.
But although official Rodman diplomacy isn’t imminent, the FBI appears to now consider the Hall of Famer an American asset.
“I know what Kim Jong Un is threatening to do regarding his military muscle,” Rodman told the Miami newspaper. “I hope it doesn’t happen because America will take whatever actions to protect America and our allies. I do think that we have to talk to people who want to cause us harm, so hopefully they won’t.”
Rodman has said he is also aware of North Korea’s human rights record, which the State Department has characterized as one of the worst in the world. But he’s wasn’t apologizing for Kim.
“He’s a good guy to me,” Rodman said after the trip. “As a person to person, he’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does.”
Rodman has been the highest-profile American to meet Kim since he inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011. Rodman traveled to North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters for a new HBO series produced by New York-based Vice television.