The White House says it would not have approved former NBA player Dennis Rodman's latest trip to North Korea if it had any say in the matter.
It says that Rodman's travel to North Korea with a team of retired basketball stars was considered private travel, and not subject to government review.
Rodman took the hoopsters to North Korea to play a birthday game for the country's leader, Kim Jung Un.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to respond to Rodman's outburst when Rodman was asked by CNN on Tuesday whether he would raise the issue of Kenneth Bae, an American detained there.
Bae has health problems and has been held by the North for over a year. Carney again called for Bae's release on humanitarian grounds.