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Prosecution Won’t Probe Contents of 274 Illegally Bugged Tapes

Prosecution Won’t Probe Contents of 274 Illegally Bugged Tapes

Posted August. 05, 2005 04:58,   


Concerning the contents of a hoard of 274 illegally recorded tapes confiscated at home of 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), Gong Un-young (58), the prosecution made a final decision in which “it would not disclose their contents as well as not utilize them as clues in the investigation.”

This is interpreted that the scope of the probe into the 274 illegally bugged tapes will be strictly restricted to “wiretapping and the illegal leaking of the wiretapped tapes” and that the contents of the tapes will not be made public and be probed.

This is also interpreted that, turning a deaf ear to a call for disclosing the contents of the tapes from political circles and some civic groups, the prosecution is making it clear that it will abide by the Constitution and the principle of law.

An official of the prosecution said on August 4, “Since the illegally bugged tapes are evidence obtained in an illegal manner, it is also illegal to launch an investigation predicated on them,” adding, “Even if a public outcry in which the people ask the prosecution to make the tapes public and to look into the illegal eavesdropping scandal is increasing, the prosecution in its capacity as law enforcement body cannot follow public opinion, with breaching the principle of the law.”

The official of the prosecution also said, “The analysis of the contents of the tapes has been stringently confined to probing into the bugging and the illegal leaking of the tapes.”

Meanwhile, on the same day, Public Security Department Two (head prosecutor: Seo Chang-hi) of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office, which is currently investigating the scandal, put Gong behind bars on charges of leaking the illegally bugged tapes (a violation of the Communication Secrets Protection Act).

The prosecution revealed that it also put foreign travel bans on three figures implicated in the scandal.

With this, aside from the NIS, the number of figures who have been denied travel by the prosecution stands at nine.

The prosecution is planning to summon MBC reporter Lee Sang-ho, who reported the contents of the tape he received from Korean-American Park In-hoe, as a witness on August 5.

Meanwhile, the NIS is scheduled to announce the results of an investigation into the scandal made by the NSPA, along with a public apology statement to the people on August 5.

The national spy agency revealed on August 4, “NIS Director Kim Seung-kyu will announce an official apology statement to the public in the security room on the third floor of the NIS tomorrow morning, as well as the results of the investigation into the scandal.”

With the news of the illegal wiretaps made by the secret bugging team (codenamed “Mirim”) of the NSPA emerging last month, the NIS has carried out an internal investigation, including a check into the background of the reorganization of the Mirim Team in 1994. The NIS also looked into how it had been run, the reports’ chain of command, and how the illegally recorded tapes and recording logs were leaked.

In a bid to look into these things, the NIS has reportedly named a total of 43 figures as subject to investigation and has investigated about 40 officials related to the scandal, including 18 incumbent officials.