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[Editorial] Mr. President, We Want More Time for Independent Counsel`s Investigation

[Editorial] Mr. President, We Want More Time for Independent Counsel`s Investigation

Posted June. 20, 2003 21:58,   


Yesterday, Independent Counsel Song Doo-hwan, who is investigating Kim Dae Jung`s alleged secret checkbook diplomacy with Kim Jung Il, officially requested an extension to the investigation period. Blue House staff are reportedly leaning heavily toward rejection of the request. President Roh, however, has not made up his mind yet. If he is swayed by his henchmen and rejects the request, he will leave a mar on his presidency.

We understand why President Roh is agonizing over the issue. Allowing the extension request would pit him against Millennium Democrats, his support groups and his political godfather Kim Dae Jung. This time however, he should act on principle. All he has to do is consider why we needed an independent counsel in the first place. We need these men and women in order to secure political neutrality when investigating politically sensitive issues. The answer is simple: he just has to do what he is supposed to do. He does not have to give it any political consideration whatsoever.

We don`t see any reason or legitimacy for a refusal of the request. No conclusion has been drawn as to whether the money secretly wired to North Korea`s dictator Kim Jung Il was official, yet unpublished aid package, or a bribe to Kim Jung Il to buy a summit with him. In addition, no firm fact has surfaced as to the 15-billion bribery scandal involving Park Ji-won, the most powerful figure in the Kim Dae Jung administration.

To maintain the indictment, more information has to come to the surface regarding the scandal. Furthermore, we haven`t heard any word from Kim Dae Jung. In short, the circumstances amply justify the need for an extension. Should President Roh cave in and reject the request, he will get bogged down with yet another dire situation.

President Roh should count in all possible side effects his rejection may bring about. Does he believe that the Grand National Party will accept his decision? Does he also believe that he can help cover up the truth with his rejection? One way or the other, he will have to see an appointment of another independent counsel. In a nutshell, his refusal to allow the request will only hurt him politically.

It still belongs to the sole discretion of Independent Counsel Song to determine whether more time is necessary to finish the ongoing investigation. We have seen any case where the extension request was rejected. Therefore, we don`t see any reason why President Roh has to agonize over the issue. As we have repeatedly stressed herein, all he has to do is leave everything to the judgment and discretion of the Independent Counsel.