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NIS Officials Admit Eavesdropping Involvement

Posted September. 26, 2005 06:15,   


It has been reported that National Intelligence Service (NIS) staffers and executive officials admitted, in a recent prosecution investigation, their involvement in the case of illegal wiretapping with eavesdropping devices during the Kim Dae-jung administration.

It was also reported that NIS staffers confessed in the investigation that they themselves documented the materials, which former Grand National Party member Jung Hyung-geun and former secretary general Kim Young-il firmly stated were derived from “tapping by the NIS” before the 2002 presidential election.

According to NIS and prosecution on September 25, the wiretapping case investigation team of the Supreme Prosecutors Office, which is in charge of the case, recently summoned 20 people, including NIS working-level staff members, to confirm the statement above.

It was known that these NIS staff members stated that using “R-2,” a wire communication network signal-tracking device, they illegally tapped landline and cellular phone conversations without legal warrants to do so.

Prior to this, NIS director Kim Seung-kyu reportedly ordered that NIS working-level staffers report to him in detail on the actual facts of the past related to the unauthorized eavesdropping just after the Chuseok holiday from September 20 to September 24.

It was reported that Kim persuaded the NIS staffers to hold nothing back about all the real facts, saying, “Leniency in criminal punishment would possibly be imposed in case you frankly tell the truth.”

As per Kim’s request, a total of 20 NIS staff members submitted their written statements to the NIS regarding their involvement in the illegal wiretapping case, and appeared in the prosecution’s office to state the real facts.

In particular, NIS working-level staffers reported that they themselves made the 30 documents, which Grand National Party officials, including Rep. Jung, disclosed as “what the NIS had wiretapped.”

It is being said regarding the statement of NIS working-level staffers that a certain Kim, a chief official in charge of eavesdropping at that time, and a couple of executive staffs confessed to the wiretapping.

Accordingly, the prosecution is reportedly planning to summon ex-directors of the NIS, including Lee Jong-chan and Cheon Yong-taek, sooner or later, and to investigate whether they knew of the unauthorized wiretapping and was reported on what had been tapped.

A prosecution official said, “All the real facts have not been confirmed yet. But we will be able to complete the investigation by mid-October at the latest.”

Tae-Hoon Lee Jin-Kyun Kil jefflee@donga.com leon@donga.com