Go to contents

NIS Announces X-File Investigation Results

Posted August. 06, 2005 06:18,   


It was revealed on August 5 that following the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA) during the Kim Young-sam administration, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) during the Kim Dae-jung administration also had carried out illegal bugging systemically for four years from 1998 to March 2002.

It was also made public that unlike the NSPA and NIS’ previous announcements in which they insisted that “it is impossible to technically wiretap dialogues between cellular phones,” the NIS had also conducted bugging operations on cellular phones.

On the same day, regarding the so-called “X-File scandal made by the NSPA,” the NIS (Director: Kim Seung-kyu) revealed the above in its announcement on an internal investigation into how the illegal bugging team, codenamed Mirim, had been run in its office building in Naegok-dong, Seoul, as well as issued an official apology to the people.

The national spy agency’s announcement is giving a shock to the public in that, as opposed to both high-ranking officials during the Kim Dae-jung administration and former President Kim Dae-jung’s assertions in which they stressed that “given that President Kim Dae-jung had been trampled down by illegal wiretappings, such an illegal bugging operation could not be conducted,” the national spy agency was revealed to have carried out illegal wiretappings even on cellular phones.

Due to this precedent, despite Cheong Wa Dae’s announcement, “There is no illegal eavesdropping operation during the incumbent participatory government,” on the same day, the people’s concerns that illegal wiretappings on wire telephones and mobile phones are still being conducted by the national spy agency are increasing.

Lee Sang-eop, deputy general manager of the NIS, explained on the same day, “The reason why illegal bugging practices were not eradicated even after democratization is that the leadership of the national spy agency failed to withstand temptations because it could secure intelligence more easily than any other means by conducting such activities.”

Along with these controversies, another controversy over whether NIS Director Kim Seung-kyu and former NIS directors Ko Young-koo and Shin Geon, who made remarks to the effect that “illegal eavesdropping operations were not conducted during the Kim Dae-jung administration in the National Assembly,” committed perjury is emerging.

Deputy general manager Lee revealed, “After introducing four sets of devices capable of bugging conversations between analogue cellular phones in January 1996, the national spy agency utilized some of them for illegal wiretappings until December 1999 (during the Kim Dae-jung administration),” adding, “With digital cellular phones being commercialized from 1996, it invented bugging devices on its own and used some of them from May 1998 to March 2002.”

He further explained, “NIS director Shin Geon, who took office in March 2001, disassembled and burned up related devices by the order of then President Kim Dae-jung in March 2002,” adding, “The contents that were illegally recorded at that time all were eliminated and currently no related tapes, recording logs and files remain.”

Concerning the probe into the Mirim team, Kim Man-bok, the head of the planning and coordinating bureau of the NIS, said, “The former head of the Mirim team, Gong Un-young, who were dismissed from the NIS in March 1999, asked a Korean-American, Park In-hoe, to arrange a meeting with Samsung Group in September 1999,” adding, “Park asked for 500 million won from Samsung Group while showing recording logs related to the 1997 presidential campaign funds to a man identified by his surname L, the head of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office, in late September 1999, but Park failed to extort the money.”

Myoung-Gun Lee taewon_ha@donga.com gun43@donga.com