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NIS Assumes Burned Tapes in 1999 Are Same as Tapes Confiscated This Time

NIS Assumes Burned Tapes in 1999 Are Same as Tapes Confiscated This Time

Posted August. 02, 2005 03:02,   


On the judgment that the 274 illegally recorded tapes confiscated by the prosecution at home of Kong Un-yong (58), the former head of the clandestine bugging team codenamed Mirim of the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA), the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), are the same as about 200 illegally wiretapped tapes Kong voluntarily returned to the NIS in 1999, the NIS is reportedly probing into whether those tapes are the same ones.

An official of the NIS said on August 1, “The concrete contents of the illegally bugged tapes impounded by the prosecution have not yet been investigated, but chances are high that those tapes are copied tapes made before Kong voluntarily gave back the illegally wiretapped tapes to the NIS in 1999.”

Another NIS official said, “Kong appears to have voluntarily returned one set of original or copied tapes in 1999, after gathering only core tapes and making some sets of copied tapes out of thousands of illegally bugged tapes.”

In response, some are raising the possibility that Kong has stashed away other copied tapes, besides the tapes confiscated by the prosecution, in preparation for the worst, or that Kong has delivered some of the copied tapes to other political figures besides Korean-American William Park (Park In-hoe, 58, who is currently behind bars).

NIS Director Kim Seung-kyu, who attended an Intelligence Committee meeting of the National Assembly on the same day, revealed, “The NIS is currently investigating 35 of 43 figures implicated in the illegal eavesdropping scandal and is planning a probe into the eight remaining figures as soon as their whereabouts are confirmed.”

Director Kim, however, did not specify the names of those being investigated.

During the meeting, director Kim said, “After investigating Korean-American Park, the NIS secured a statement from Park in which he received an illegally recorded tape and recording logs that contain conversations on a certain company (Samsung Group)’s plan to offer presidential campaign funds in 1997 from Kong in September 1999 and copied them, delivered them to that company (Samsung Group), and also delivered them to a certain local broadcast (MBC) reporter in October and December last year.”

However, Director Kim noted, “Since the former key figures, including the former first deputy chief of the NSPA, Oh Jeong-so, have refused to state their positions on the facts related to the scandal while saying that “they would take responsibility for it,” the NIS is finding it difficult to probe into the scandal promptly,” adding, “The NIS will get to the bottom of the scandal in cooperation with the prosecution as soon as possible.”

Yong-Gwan Jung Myoung-Gun Lee yongari@donga.com gun43@donga.com