Friends of the man accused of leaking classified intelligence on North Korea to a Fox News reporter have set up a legal defense fund in his name as he fights the federal charges filed against him.
The government’s case against State Department security analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim is getting fresh attention with the revelation that the Justice Department — in its investigation of Kim — obtained private records detailing the activities of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
The Washington Post reported Sunday evening that the federal investigators went to great lengths to investigate how Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for the cable network, was able to report on classified intelligence on North Korea in 2009.
According to the story, the Justice Department obtained Rosen’s security badge access records at the State Department, looked at records of his calls personal e-mails with Kim.
While it wasn’t publicly known until now that the FBI had gone through Rosen’s records, the government’s case against Kim has been covered in the media, and Kim’s friends and family have been proclaiming his innocence online.
A legal defense fund was set up at StephenKim.org.
“Stephen has already depleted his life savings in defending against these charges,” Kirk J. Stark, a professor at UCLA law school and a trustee of the defense trust wrote online. “His parents have sold their home to help pay for their son’s legal defense. Yet despite these extraordinary efforts, Stephen still faces a seemingly insurmountable financial burden.”
Abbe D. Lowell, an attorney for Kim, wrote on the website that the case against her client is an “unfounded one.”
“The government has not alleged that Stephen gave away any document, that he was paid to do anything, that he stole the information, or that he acted in secret,” Lowell wrote. “It does not allege that Stephen was a spy or that he acted to assist an enemy of the United States. And, it does not allege that Stephen engaged in a pattern of misconduct.”
Lowell continued: “Rather, the case against Stephen Kim seems to be based on a prosecutor’s theory that Stephen talked to someone in the media about a topic of current events and — in that one and only conversation — disclosed classified information.”
According to the FBI’s application for the search warrant for Rosen’s emails, the FBI argued “there is probable cause to believe that the Reporter” is an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator.”
When it comes to investigating leaks to reporters, the Obama administration, according to the Post’s article on Rosen, “has pursued more such cases than all previous administrations combined, including one against a former CIA official charged with leaking U.S. intelligence on Iran and another against a former FBI contract linguist who pleaded guilty to leaking to a blogger.”