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Ex-State Dept. Contractor Will Plead Guilty For Leaks To Fox News

Stephen Kim, a former State Department contractor who leaked classified material to Fox News, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized disclosure of secret government information, his lawyer told U.S. District judge on Friday.

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:

"Under a deal with prosecutors Kim has agreed to serve 13 months in prison but the agreement must be approved by a judge. If the deal is approved the investigation will end - meaning no more charges against anyone else including Fox reporter James Rosen."

Reuters says Kim had been scheduled to stand trial in April after being indicted in 2010 by a grand jury that found sufficient evidence to try him for divulging U.S. intelligence believed to be about how North Korea would respond to new sanctions.

As Carrie reported in June, the plethora of classified documents slowed down the pace of the investigation.

The Associated Press writes:

"If a federal judge accepts the plea, Kim will be sentenced on April 2."

"Kim, 46, worked as a senior adviser for intelligence to the assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance and implementation."

"The material at issue in the Kim case came from an intelligence report that had been communicated to officials in the intelligence community, including Kim, on the morning that Rosen's story was published, according to an FBI affidavit for a search warrant in the probe."

Update at 3:50 p.m. ET:

In a statement issued by Kim's attorney, Abbe Lowell, acknowledges that "Regrettably, the topic and some of the information that [Kim] discussed with a reporter was also contained in a classified report."

But Lowell insists his client did not reveal any intelligence sources or methods and that "[the] information at issue was less sensitive or surprising than much of what we read in the newspaper every day."

"Stephen did not steal any information. He did not provide any documents or electronic data to anyone. He did not pay for or receive payment for his actions," Lowell said. "All that he did was have conversations with a particular reporter on a particular day — yet he faced more than 15 years in jail for this conduct."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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