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“I Will Not Be Briefed about Wiretap Tape Content”

Posted August. 01, 2005 06:08,   


Kim Jong-bin, the public prosecutor-general, declared that he would not debrief the contents of 274 wiretap tapes seized from the house of Gong Un-young (58) who headed the National Security Planning Agency’s (NSPA) secret Mirim surveillance team.

A prosecution’s senior official said that executives such as Kim, the public prosecutor-general, and Jeong Sang-myung, the assistant prosecutor-general of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s office, who are leading the effort, made clear on July 29 that they will never receive a briefing on the tapes.

The fact that Kim said he will not receive a briefing on the tapes seems to be a will to preserve the security of the contents of the tapes and to focus on the investigation of the illegal wiretapping.

Accordingly, the right to inspect and report the content of the tapes seems to be limited to minimum officials such as the chief public prosecutor and the superintendent public prosecutor who are responsible for investigating and commanding the inquiry.

The Seoul Central District Public Prosecutor’s Office in charge of this case said they told Lee Sang-ho, a journalist at MBC, to attend the prosecution proceedings on August 1. Lee is the one who received data on the National Security Plan Agency from Korean-American Park In-hoe and reported it.

A prosecution official said that they asked him to attend as a reference and that they didn’t receive a definite answer from him on whether he would show up.

MBC said regarding his attendance that they are considering asking the prosecution to adjust the date on which Lee attends the proceedings, so it is uncertain whether he will answer the summons on August 1.

The prosecution, if he attends, will investigate the process from how he obtained the wiretap tapes containing dialogue between Hong Seok-hyun, then-present of JoongAng Ilbo, and Lee Hak-su, the highest-ranking executive of Samsung, from Park last December to his reporting about the tapes.

In particular, the prosecution is known to be having a hard time in deciding the range and the extent of analysis on the wiretap tapes and scripts confiscated from Gong’s house. Regarding this, it is known that the investigation team did not unseal the tapes and scripts until the afternoon of July 30.

The prosecution is also considering summoning Oh Jeong-so, the NSPA`s former anti-communist policy section director, in relation to investigation into who is behind the wiretapping.

Tae-Hoon Lee Yong-Gwan Jung jefflee@donga.com yongari@donga.com