US federal contractor charged with leaking secrets

August 28, 2010 03:07

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday accused an analyst who worked at the US State Department of leaking top secret information about North Korea to a reporter.

Steven Kim, who worked at State as an employee of a contractor, maintains his innocence.He was named in a federal indictment unsealed Friday and charged with illegally disclosing national defense information, which carries a top penalty of 10 years in prison, and with making false statements to the FBI, which has a maximum five-year sentence.

It was the latest move in an aggressive campaign to crack down on leaks, even as the administration has supported proposed legislation that would shield reporters from having to identify their sources.

The federal director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, sent a memo to members of the 16 intelligence agencies, expressing his concern about leaks to the press, saying officials should be "seen but not heard." The internal memo didn't stay private, leaked Friday to The Associated Press.

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