Fomer US contractor enters guilty plea in Fox News probe
Feb 09, 2014 05:03 PM EST
A Bloomberg News report said that an ex-US State Department contractor who allegedly divulge classified information about North Korea to a news reporter entered a guilty please today. Stephen Kim was officially charged of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and is set to serve 13 months in jail for doing so.
Kim reportedly gave intelligence information to James Rosen, a Fox News reporter, in 2009 and made false statement to the US Federal Bureau Investigation. The US Justice Department invoked much criticism from the free press advocates and the House Republican lawmakers with their handling of the investigation of the Fox News intelligence leak and another involving the Associated Press, Bloomberg said. Critics of the Justice Department said that the government agency used heavy-handed tactics in their dealings with news media.
The controversy involving the Justice Department has led US Attorney General Eric Holder to tighten the guidelines used for federal prosecutors who handle cases that involved media members last year, the news outlet said.
Officials of the Justice Department said the plea entered by Kim today demonstrated the agency's willingness to pursue information leakers who had harmed the national security of the US.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that his client entered a guilty simply because Kim wanted to avoid an expensive trial and a potentially longer prison term. Kim could faced up to a decade in prison if convicted guilty of making a false statement to the FBI, but the charge was dropped later as part of the deal.
"(Kim) did what so many government officials do every day in Washington, D.C.: he talked to a reporter. Regrettably, the topic of some of the information he discussed with a reporter was also contained in a classified report. (The classified information was) less sensitive or surprising than what we read in the newspaper every day," the lawyer added.
Kin's sentencing is set before US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, which will be on April 2, Bloomberg added.