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Prosecutors Investigate Scrapping of Tapes in 1999

Posted August. 11, 2005 03:05,   


Public Security Department Two (head prosecutor Seo Chang-hui) of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ office, which is investigating the illegal wiretapping scandal by the National Security Planning Agency and National Intelligence Service (NIS), summoned an agent and a former agent of the NIS to inquire into the withdrawal procedure of the recording tapes of eavesdropped conversation from the agency’s wiretapping team, the “Mirim” team, in 1999.

A prosecutor said, “We summoned a former member of Mirim and a former agent who worked at the NIS surveillance team who was involved in the withdrawal of the tapes.”

After finishing an interrogation of these two working-level officials, the prosecution is planning to call in Lee Geon-mo, former chief of the NIS surveillance team, and question him about the operation to withdraw tapes and notes of the bugged conversations from former head of Mirim, Kong Un-young (58, arrested), in November 1999.

The prosecution will also ask him if the former chief of the NIS, Chun Yong-taek, was implicated in scrapping the tapes.

The prosecution said the search and seizure of the NIS office will be conducted in a cautious manner after a careful review on the method and timing.

It is also considering summoning Oh Chung-so, who headed the wiretapping activities of Mirim, and Chun, former chief of the NIS, after interrogating low-level agents.

Meanwhile, due to legal disputes among experts, the prosecution has not reportedly made its final decision on if it should embark on an investigation into an illegal political funds scandal by the Samsung Group that was exposed by the illegally bugged conversations.

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com