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Investigation into YS-DJ Administration Officials Imminent

Investigation into YS-DJ Administration Officials Imminent

Posted August. 02, 2005 03:02,   


Curiosity continues to mount regarding the 274 audiotape recordings and 13 volumes of transcriptions confiscated from the home of former Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) Mirim Team leader Gong Un-yong.

So far, the prosecution has released no information regarding these pieces of evidence other than the fact that they consist of 274 120-minute tapes and 3,600-3,700 pages of written reports on the contents.

How Are the Tapes and Transcriptions Related?-

The materials acquired from Korean-American William Park (Park In-hoe) by MBC reporter Lee Sang-ho comprise a single 90-minute tape and 18 pages of transcription. They contain the details of three conversations between Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Hak-soo and JoongAng Ilbo chairman Hong Seok-hyun which took place in the days leading up to the 1997 presidential election.

Extrapolating the ratio of tape to transcription from the “Lee Sang-ho X File,” the items confiscated from the recent search and seizure ought to include some 6,580 pages of transcription considering that the tapes amount to 548 hours of recorded materials. Since the reports recovered from Gong’s residence come to just 3600-3700 pages in all, one can speculate that roughly half of the original transcriptions are missing.

Of course, it is possible that Gong recorded only those portions of the conversations that warranted a summary transcription and skipped over the rest of the contents.

What of the “Standalone” Tapes and Transcriptions?-

Lee Gun-mo, who had headed the Inspection Office at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in 1999, remarked during an interview with the media, “Gong kept delaying the return (of the tapes, etc.), and when I asked how much longer it would be, he replied that it would take quite a lot of time because the materials were hidden in several different places.”

This statement suggests that Gong may have excluded or mixed up some of the tapes and transcriptions in the course of returning them to the NIS.

The authenticity of the tapes can be verified through voice signature analysis and other means. However, the transcriptions lend themselves to addition or omission, so it is difficult to ascertain whether they are a faithful recording of the tapes’ contents or have been doctored in some way. The existence of transcriptions that are missing their audiotape originals adds to the uncertainty.

As a result, the prosecution is likely to conduct a thorough comparative analysis of the tapes and the transcriptions.

The Prosecution’s Search and Seizure-

The prosecution was issued a warrant for the search and seizure of Gong’s residence at 4:00 p.m. on July 27.

As soon as the warrant was secured, inspectors went into action, searching the house for an hour starting sometime around 6:00 p.m. The tapes and transcriptions were found in a paper box on top of a closet in Gong’s daughter’s room.

On the afternoon of the following day, the prosecution issued a ban on relevant NIS officials from leaving the country and requested an arrest warrant for Gong. The official press release regarding the additional seizure of 274 audiotapes came just minutes before the deadline for the morning papers at 4:20 p.m. on July 29.

Jin-Young Hwang needjung@donga.com buddy@donga.com