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Former President Didn’t Know about Illegal Wiretapping?

Former President Didn’t Know about Illegal Wiretapping?

Posted August. 08, 2005 03:04,   


There is a growing voice that the former president Kim Dae-jung should be held responsible for illegal bugging as it has been revealed that the NIS was involved in wiretapping during the four years of his term in office.

Cheong Wa Dae and the NIS made clear that the illegal wiretapping was not directed by the former president and Kim also said that he was never briefed on the issue. But some government officials who are familiar with the chain of command don’t agree.

One government official said on August 7 that “it is inconceivable that Kim wasn’t aware that there are elements in NIS reports which couldn’t be gathered without bugging.” Even though the reports didn’t specify the source, the information secured from such sources is distinguishable from others.

He said, “Up-to-the-minute information such as wiretapped conversations is like sweet seasoning. Once you taste it, you get addicted to it.”

Jeon Yeo-ok, a Grand National Party spokesperson, argued, “It is highly likely that the former president continued to get reports, pretending not to know that there was illegal bugging,” adding “Because, in this way, he could get vital information effectively and stay away from illegal activity.”

Some point out that he can’t justify his failure to check the source of reports, given that he repeatedly underscored the need to root out the illegal bugging.

He reiterated his commitment by saying, “The government doesn’t involve itself in eavesdropping for the purpose of remaining in power,” (March, 1999) and, “Wiretapping is unacceptable” (September, 1999).

Another government official said, “He can be held accountable for not making sure that his policy is being implemented, after directing his staff to root out illegal bugging several times.”

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com