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Former Navy analyst gets prison term for spying

July 11, 1997
Web posted at: 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 GMT)

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- Former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Robert Kim was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for giving classified documents to a South Korean military official in 1996.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema rejected leniency for Kim, 57, a native South Korean who became a U.S. citizen in 1974. He had worked as a civilian computer specialist for the office of Naval Intelligence since 1978. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage.

Kim faced a maximum sentence of 10 years, but was given credit for the 9 1/2 months he has spent in jail since his arrest. Kim was one of three people arrested for spying during a four-month period last year, and his offense is generally regarded as the least serious of the three.

Brinkema rejected Kim's arguments that he had been naive, and ignored pleas of leniency made on his behalf by family, church members and even South Korean government officials.

"You knew what you were doing," she told the tearful Kim.

Prosecutor Robert Chesnut had urged a tough sentence, saying, "He was looking to cash in on what he had learned at the Office of Naval Intelligence."

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