Stephen Jin-Woo Kim
Stephen Jin-Woo Kim is a former State Department contractor who pleaded guilty to a single felony count of disclosing classified information to Fox News reporter James Rosen. He previously had a career in academia and government service. He lives in McLean, Virginia.
Kim was charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing to a reporter that North Korea might test a nuclear bomb. His defenders argue that such disclosure is both harmless and commonplace in Washington, and that the charge against him is excessive and unprecedented.
He was born on August 15, 1967 in Seoul, South Korea. His family moved to New York in 1976. He attended Fordham Preparatory School, a Jesuit school. For college he went to the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (1989). He tried out Wall Street but found the work did not suit him. Following that, he attended Harvard for a master's degree in national security (1992), and then Yale for a Ph.D. in diplomatic and military history (1999). He authored a book based on his dissertation. He has also extensively studied philosophy and literature.
After graduation, he went to work at the Center for Naval Analyses, where he analyzed U.S. operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. After the September 11 attacks, he moved to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he focused on North Korea. He briefed the Defense Policy Board on his work, as well as Kissinger, Hadley, and Cheney. He also worked at the Office of Net Assessment under the Secretary of Defense, analyzing Chinese nuclear issues.
In 2008, he went to work as a contractor at the State Department at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. There he was Senior Advisor for Intelligence to the Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation. He studied North Korea's nuclear program, especially its claims of dismantling its equipment. He also participated in nuclear war games at the Naval War College.
James Rosen and Fox News
- Unauthorized disclosure of national defense information in violation of Espionage Act) (the
- Making false statements in violation of
The government alleges that Kim's conversation with Rosen contained information related to the "national defense"; (793(d) does not use the word "classified"). The alleged false statements to the FBI occurred in September 2009, regarding whether or not Kim had any contact with Rosen (whom he allegedly met around March 2009). Kim initially pled not guilty. Rosen and Fox were not named in the indictment (which listed them as a "news organization" and "reporter") but news reports identified the parties.
Kim was defended by prominent attorneys Abbe Lowell of Chadbourne & Parke and Paul M. Thompson and James M. Commons of McDermott Will & Emery. One of Lowell's arguments was that Bob Woodward's book Obama's Wars contains far more sensitive information than the information Kim is accused of leaking, thus creating a double standard in leak prosecution. Lowell also said that the DOJ is "stretch[ing] the espionage laws" and having a chilling effect on government officials communicating with the press. He also said that Kim would never do anything "for which he had any reason to believe would harm [US interests]."
On February 7, 2014, Kim entered a guilty plea to a single felony count of disclosing classified national defense information to an unauthorized person, Fox News reporter James Rosen. Kim was sentenced to a 13-month prison term.
- Thomas Andrews Drake (NSA whistleblower charged under the Espionage Act, 2010)
- Jeffrey Alexander Sterling (charged under Espionage Act for alleged communication with a reporter, 2010)
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