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A “Pandora’s Box” of Wiretapped Conversations

Posted July. 30, 2005 03:06,   


What Is In the Transcript-

Who are in the transcript and what they spoke about are matters of concern.

Gong, the head of the secret spy agency of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), said in a statement released to the press on July 26, “Korean society, politics, and businesses were mired in a series of chaos of flattery, tricks and jealousy.”

Such remarks help us to understand what Gong, in charge of the wiretapping mission since 1992 and having undergone two presidential elections, has felt about society seen inside “underground” politics.

Lee Gun-mo, then chief of Inspection Office at the NIS, who obtained and burned two boxes of some 200 tapes and transcripts in 1999, made an even more frank and blatant response.

He maintained that the moment he opened the boxes, he shuddered at the number of surprising secrets. He thought that he should have just pretended collecting them. He explained that “If those documents are made public, every part of society could collapse with chaos beyond one’s imagination.”

Gong already remarked that “in 1994 when a secret surveillance team codenamed Mirim was re-established, I secretly took the recorded tapes out just in case.” Those in the tapes may well include civic groups and radical activists as well as those in political and business sectors, former administrations, and the press.

Rumors have it that conversations between an executive of a conglomerate and a prominent politician are recorded and transcribed.

It is worth considering the remark of Lee to Chun Yong-taek, the former head of the NIS, that recorded tapes and transcripts are highly useful for now but could deal a hard blow to the nation as a whole.

The Possibility of Other Copied Tapes-

The prosecution will launch an investigation over whether the tapes seized from Gong are copies of ones returned to the NIS or if they are totally different ones.

It seems that Gong still holds tapes involving influential figures or those who may give rise to social criticism significantly if disclosed, at home or at his office.

Some raise doubts that Gong revealed only the tapes that were advantageous to the Kim Dae-jung administration and hid others unfavorable to the administration.

There is also the possibility that he concealed other documents and tapes at a secret place in case of seizure.

Few in the spy agency believe that the intelligence veteran who worked for almost 30 years would keep illegally recorded tapes and transcripts only at home or at the office.

Lee said that “the NIS destroyed all tapes obtained, but is not sure what happened or what will happen outside of the agency.”

Gong might have had backroom dealings with those involved after he sorted out conversations based on the figures on the tapes.

Since the prosecution revealed that it reviewed the tapes and transcripts, sensitive issues may come out again during the process of reviewing, compiling, and reporting the tapes.