Defenders call Robert Kim, who gave classified military documents to Seoul, a true patriot.
Barbara Demick, L. A. Times, Jun. 8
SEOUL — It was a case of a little friendly spying among allies.
In 1996, U.S. naval intelligence analyst Robert Kim was arrested for handing over classified documents to South Korea, the country of his birth. After serving seven years of a nine-year prison term for espionage, he was released last week to confinement in his home in Ashburn, Va. But considerable bitterness about the case remains for many South Koreans, who believe that the United States and their own government treated Kim unfairly.
Robert Kim, a naturalized U.S. citizen who moved to the United States in 1967 to attend graduate school, was working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy in 1996 when the FBI arrested him. It charged he had photocopied more than 30 classified military documents and given them to a military attache with the South Korean Embassy. Many of the documents dealt with the threat posed by communist North Korea.
“I knew that I violated the rules as a government worker, but no, I did not think it was espionage,” Kim said. “I love my adopted country.”
But in another interview, published last week in a South Korean newspaper, Kim said that he considered himself a Korean above all.
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