Ex-State Department Official Stephen Kim Begins Sentence Today In Government Leaks Case


A Korean American preparing for his jail term over leaking classified intelligence on North Korea is saying he still intends on pursuing his “dreams” despite “incredible pain” and “shattered reputation” he suffered because of the case.

A former State Department contractor, Stephen Jin-woo Kim gave classified information about North Korea’s potential nuclear test to a reporter at Fox News in 2009. He was sentenced 13 months in prison in April. Kim said he will start serving the sentence on Monday.

“I don’t know whether it is proper for me to confront incarceration with calmness or trepidation,” the- 46-year-old  told Yonhap News Agency. “I am susceptible to the insecurity of the unknown.”

Kim’s case is seen as an example of how the Obama administration views espionage issues. Some have suggested that punishing Kim violates freedom of the press as the information he leaked did not pose a direct threat to national security.

“The social and personal damage to my family scarred deeply, but the pain does not stop there,” Kim said. “My reputation, a reputation that I had assiduously built over the years, was shattered. The betrayal and the abandonment of so-called friends were particularly cutting.”

However, Kim says that his experience has sparked a new dream for him to pursue. He plans to read world classics in theology, philosophy, literature and history while teaching other inmates who were “not as fortunate as I would be able to receive a high school diploma.”

Kim said: “I have been told by my closest friends to write a memoir of my unique government experience, as well as the novelties of prison life. I think I am still too young to reflect on life. It is yet to be completed. I still have some life to live. And there remain many things I would like to accomplish.”

After serving his 13-month term in prison, Kim wishes to return to South Korea to live with his family. There, he wants to launch a consulting business and leverage his “wide, varied and unique” experience. His ultimate goal is to launch a high school in Korea, he said.