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Vice Admiral Faces Censure Over Alleged Security Leak

Posted July. 21, 2004 22:08,   


The government’s joint investigation team (led by the army’s Maj. Gen. Park Jung-jo) is planning to present a final report finishing its investigation into an alleged leak of secret information over North Korea’s violation of inter-Korean maritime boundaries on July 14 and into those who were involved in the incident. Any reprimand will come after the outcome of the investigation is announced on July 22.

The joint investigation decided on a range of censure, including the Fleet Command in the navy that failed to report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff after receiving information about radio contact with the North Korean boat, and the Office of Information Gathering of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff which did not inform the Chief Director of Intelligence of the report from its Surveillance and Communications Force.

Following the investigation, not only high-ranking officials such as the Chief of Fleet Command (the navy’s vice admiral) and the Chief of Information Gathering (the army’s brigadier general), but also military working-level officials in charge of managing reporting procedures are going to be included on the list of punishment. “We are going to ask who is responsible depending on whether their reports were appropriate or not. Both working-level officials and middle-level commanders will face the consequences,” high-ranking officials from the president’s office said.

Although Park Seung-choon, chief director of intelligence for Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, had not been informed of the radio contacts, he was found to have leaked military secrets to the media on July 19. A source from a government’s intelligence agency said, “There is controversy over whether the contents of Park’s information was confidential or not. However, he will not avoid censure since his act was considered ‘media play.’ ”

Meanwhile, the joint investigation team probed into the allegation that the navy swiftly concluded the North’s radio transmissions as clandestine measures to confuse the South Korean Navy. It also questioned whether there were proper countermeasures taken or orders given during the two-minute period between the North Korean radio contact and the Navy’s warning shots.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com