from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2010, Issue No. 69
August 30, 2010
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
ANOTHER LEAK PROSECUTION
The Obama Administration continued its pursuit of individuals who leak classified information to the press with another indictment of a suspected leaker. The Department of Justice announced last week that Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, had been indicted under the Espionage Act for the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and for lying to the FBI. Mr. Kim pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The classified information, which was not specified in the indictment, reportedly consisted of a 2009 intelligence assessment conveyed to Fox News stating that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions by conducting another nuclear explosive test. "The willful disclosure of classified information to those not entitled to it is a serious crime," said Assistant Attorney General David S. Kris in an August 27 news release. "Today's indictment should serve as a warning to anyone who is entrusted with sensitive national security information and would consider compromising it."
Mr. Kim's attorneys blasted the decision to indict him.
"In its obsession to clamp down on perfectly appropriate conversations between government employees and the press, the Obama Administration has forgotten that wise foreign policy must be founded on a two-way conversation between government and the public," said Abbe D. Lowell and Ruth Wedgwood in an August 27 statement on the case.
"It is so disappointing that the Justice Department has chosen to stretch the espionage laws to cover ordinary and normal conversations between government officials and the press and, in doing so, destroy the career of a loyal civil servant and brilliant foreign policy analyst," they said. "There is no allegation that a document was given, that any money changed hands, that any foreign government was involved, or that there was any improper motive in the type of government/media exchanges that happen hundreds of times a day in Washington."
Mr. Kim was released pending trial on a $100,000 property bond. A status conference in the case has been set for October 13, 2010.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, former Defense Secretary William J. Perry said that more criminal prosecutions were needed to deter leaks of classified information.
"When I was secretary, we had an example of an egregious leak which I thought compromised national security," Secretary Perry told Senator McCain on August 3. "We prosecuted a case and sent the leaker to prison. And I think more examples of that would be useful in injecting better discipline in the system."
However, he may have misspoken. There does not seem to have been a leak prosecution during the years that he served as Secretary (1993-1997), and Dr. Perry's office was not able to provide clarification of his remarks.
GEOENGINEERING, AND MORE FROM CRS
Technologies to modify the Earth's climate are at least conceivable and, in the absence of a comprehensive national and international climate change policy, may soon emerge as practical alternatives, a new survey of the subject from the Congressional Research Service suggests.
"The term 'geoengineering' describes this array of technologies that aim, through large-scale and deliberate modifications of the Earth's energy balance, to reduce temperatures and counteract anthropogenic climate change," the CRS report said. However, "Most of these technologies are at the conceptual and research stages, and their effectiveness at reducing global temperatures has yet to be proven."
"Moreover, very few studies have been published that document the cost, environmental effects, sociopolitical impacts, and legal implications of geoengineering. If geoengineering technologies were to be deployed, they are expected to have the potential to cause significant transboundary effects." See "Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy," August 16, 2010:
The Congressional Research Service -- acting at congressional direction -- does not permit direct public access to its publications. Some other recent CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include the following.
"Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill," August 16, 2010:
"Public Employees' Right to Privacy in Their Electronic Communications: City of Ontario v. Quon in the Supreme Court," July 28, 2010:
"Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials," August 24, 2010:
"The European Union's Response to the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis," August 13, 2010:
"Turkey: Politics of Identity and Power," August 13, 2010:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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