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[Opinion] `Gate` Defeat

Posted January. 08, 2002 09:05,   


Former FBI director Louis Freeh was instated by former President Bill Clintion and worked for six more months on George W. Bush`s request before resigning last June. When he left with two years remaining in his 10 year-term, everyone in both the Republic and Democrat parties expressed regret. He has six sons and was reported to have had difficulties supporting them with a director`s salary. Since Louis Freeh left public office and transferred to the corporate world in order to feed his family, no one can really blame him.

In the beginning of his term, Freeh could not avoid being tagged a `Clinton man`. He was criticized for letting FBI files on Republican leaders leak into the White House and for informing Bill Clinton about the investigation into illegal campaign fund raising by White House officials.

Freeh was called again and again to stand before Congress and suffer harsh questioning about his close relationship with the White House and increasingly distanced himself from the White House. He did not bother to attend the swearing-in ceremony at the White House. He insisted on calling for special investigations into illegal fund raising activities, making Bill Clinton regret his appointment.

The FBI is a formidable organization and not easily tamed. FBI workers throw out directors who do not please them. The wife of former director William Sessions took limo rides chauffered by FBI employees for shopping and used FBI funds to do house repairs. When this leaked out to the press, Sessions left office in the middle of his term.

Louis Freeh held his place as director even after surviving the rigorous Senate hearing and detailed interrogation by Congress. No one can survive the scrutiny of Congress and internal strife without the kind of skill and determination that Freeh had. Former director Louis Freeh never went to a restaurant for lunch when he was in office. He ate hamburgers and sandwiches in order to stay in the office and work.

The principle cause for current upheavals due to various `gates` is the fact that the officials who were supposed to prevent and eliminate corruption were actually complicit in the scandals. The democrat side insists that the in contrast to past administrations, the present one conducted open investigations and wreaked havoc. It may be that they would have sought out the truth even if there were no conflict with the opposition party.

All power becomes corrupt without vigilance and restraint. Some say that these gates springing up with such speed from government bodies signals the arrival of democracy, but it actually shows that the Assembly, media, and internal elements have failed to monitor them adequately.

The Public Prosecutors Office adamantly opposes its director from attending the National Assembly sessions because that will compromise the autonomy of the eminent legal body. Yet, the argument that the organization will compromise its political objectivity by attending the representative body of the nation while the office consults with the Cheong Wa Dae and the opposition party day and night fails to persuade.

The Grand National Party (GNP) and the New Millennium Democratic Party (NMDP) did not hesitate to engage in attack and defense at the hearings on the `Big Three` - the National Intelligence Service director, Prosecutor General, and the head of the National Tax Service. Both sides seemed to change positions according to what party the person belonged. If an institution of political power is not securely objective, anyone who has influence will be tempted to use it as his own instrument. That is the nature of power. One wonders what side the democrats would take if they became the minority party.

Public prosecutors in Taegu, Pusan, and Mokpo form a united front and assert that they cannot do anything about the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, the National Intelligence Service, and the National Tax Service because they are centers of power. The spores of scandal find their breeding ground in such damp and sticky places.

No one knows how much help the prosecutors office gave to its `family`, the Mokpo administration, but this administration did considerable damage to the President and ruling party due to its ties to the Lee Yong-Ho gate and lobbying. If this family member prosecutor loses his power, he will become an outsider and a potential backstabber. If the public prosecutors office maintains political objectivity, no one will have to force some awkward law against political vengeance.

Special investigator will also lose its reason for being. The call for special investigators for the Chung Hyun-Joon, Yoon Tae-Sik, Jin Seung-Hyun gates after putting one onto the Lee Yong-Ho gate indicates the lack of confidence in the public prosecutors. The U.S. dismantled the system of special investigation because there was the politically neutral FBI and its director Louis Freeh.

The time has come for President Kim Dae-Jung, who has one year remaining in his term, to leave behind all attachment to the family member public prosecutor. Now is the time to change the system and personnel in order to establish the autonomy of the public prosecutors office.