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Ruling, Opposition Parties Submit Separate Bills on Bugging Scandal

Ruling, Opposition Parties Submit Separate Bills on Bugging Scandal

Posted August. 10, 2005 03:11,   


The ruling Uri Party proposed a special bill to let a third civilian committee decide whether to reveal the contents of the illegally bugged tapes made by the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA), the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), to the National Assembly on August 9.

In response, the four opposition parties, including the main opposition Grand National Party, the Democratic Labor Party, the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats, jointly submitted a bill on the same day to appoint an independent counsel to get to the bottom of the illegal eavesdropping scandal involving the NSPA and NIS to the National Assembly. The ruling and opposition parties launched negotiations in a bid to deal with the special bill on setting up an independent body and bill on an investigation by an special counsel.

The core of the special legislation the ruling Uri Party submitted to the National Assembly is to set up a third independent committee titled, “The Truth Committee on the Illegal Bugging Scandal” in a bid to let the committee cope with whether to make the contents of the tapes and recording logs public and the specific disclosure time.

The truth committee will consist of seven commissioners, including a chairman, and the National Assembly, the president and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea are entitled to appoint three, two and two of the commissioners, respectively. The committee can spend up to nine months, including a three-month extension, for a thorough probe into the scandal.

As for the bill to appoint an independent counsel to look into the scandal jointly proposed by the four opposition parties, the scope of the investigation runs as follows: How the NSPA and NIS carried out illegal bugging operations since February 25, 1993, and cases in which the national spy agency violated the positive law due to the leaking of illegally wiretapped content; and cases in which the NSPA, the NIS, parties, and companies breached the positive law.

In particular, this bill stipulates that an independent counsel can thoroughly investigate even cases in which the statute of limitations has expired and announce the results. On top of that, if any illegality is confirmed from the contents of the illegally recorded tapes, the related contents should be divulged.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com