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Former Federal Contract Employee Sentenced to 13 Months in Prison for Disclosing National Defense Information

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 02, 2014
  • District of Columbia (202) 514-7566

WASHINGTON—Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former federal contract employee, was sentenced today to 13 months in prison for the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, announced Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Kim pleaded guilty on February 7, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. The plea agreement, which was contingent upon the court’s approval, called for Kim to be sentenced to 13 months in prison, to be followed by a year of supervised release. The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly accepted the plea today and sentenced Kim accordingly.

Kim, 46, was a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employee on detail to the State Department’s Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation (VCI) at the time of the disclosure. At the time, Kim worked as a senior advisor for Intelligence to the assistant secretary of state for VCI. According to court documents, on June 11, 2009, Kim knowingly and willfully disclosed to a reporter top secret/sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI) relating to the national defense.

The information concerned the military capabilities and preparedness of North Korea and was contained in an intelligence report classified at the TS/SCI level that Kim accessed on a classified computer database. Within hours of the disclosure, a news organization published an article on the Internet that included the TS/SCI national defense information that Kim had disclosed.

“Stephen Kim was a sophisticated consumer of intelligence who knew the enormous damage that could be done by disclosing highly classified information about North Korea’s military capabilities,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “He is now headed to federal prison to pay the price for betraying the trust of his country and placing our nation’s security at risk. Hopefully this prosecution will deter others who are considering compromising our nation’s most sensitive secrets.”

“As a federal contract employee to the State Department, Kim abused his position of trust and put the security of our nation at risk by knowingly disclosing Top Secret information,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “Today’s sentence serves as a warning to anyone who has access to information held by the U.S. government and would consider compromising our nation’s secrets—we will continue to take all necessary steps to investigate and prosecute those who illegally divulge national security information.”

Kim was indicted in August 2010. According to court documents that were filed at the time of the plea, Kim admitted that he did not believe that he was exposing government waste, fraud, abuse, or any other kind of government malfeasance or misfeasance. Further, Kim admitted that he had reason to believe that his unauthorized disclosure could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. Finally, he acknowledged that he was never authorized, directly or indirectly, by the United States government to communicate any national defense information to the media.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with the assistance of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys G. Michael Harvey, Jonathan M. Malis, and Thomas A. Bednar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorneys Deborah A. Curtis and Julie A. Edelstein of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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