In its obsession to clamp down perfectly appropriate conversations between government employees and the press, this Administration has forgotten that wise foreign policy must be founded on a two-way conversation between government and the public. It is so disappointing that the Justice Department has chosen to stretch the espionage laws to cover ordinary and normal conversation between government officials and the press and, in doing so, destroy the career of a loyal civil servant and brilliant foreign policy analyst where there is no allegation that a document was given, that any money changed hands, that there was any improper motive in the type of government/media exchanges that happen hundreds of times a day in Washington.
This prosecution is intended to or will have a chilling effect on the work of policy analysis and the debate that is necessary for the formulation of a democratic foreign policy. In its campaign to look and act tough, the prosecutors have acted without heed to the cost levied on worthy professional lives and has made it dangerous to even be seen talking to a journalist.
Stephen Kim is a dedicated, hard-working, law-abiding and extraordinarily talented analyst who has given 10 years of valuable service to the U.S. government and has helped it better understand issues ranging from North Korea to Iran. He has briefed and been a vital resource for high-level officials in the Departments of State and has been consulted by national leaders such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. Unlike what the charges state here and what the government has to prove, Mr. Kim never would take any action for which he had any reason to believe would harm the interests of the United States.
The news report at the heart of these charges contains completely unremarkable observations about what a country adverse to the United States would do if the United Nations imposed sanctions on it for its poor behavior. These kinds of observations were well known to anyone paying attention to public sources and ought not be the basis for making someone a federal felon.
This is why Mr. Kim has pleaded not guilty to what the government has charged. He hopes those with whom he has worked and his friends and acquaintances will recall that he is the man they know him to be, a man who would never intentionally violate the law, and that they stand by him and give real meaning to the presumption of innocence.