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Documents Revealed in 2002 Could Confirm Wiretapping Allegations

Documents Revealed in 2002 Could Confirm Wiretapping Allegations

Posted September. 27, 2005 05:56,   


On November 28, 2002, then-secretary general Kim Young-il of the Grand National Party disclosed 27 sheets of A4 documents which said the National Intelligence Service (NIS) conducted wiretapping on a wide range of figures, including ruling and opposition politicians, press chairs, journalists, and businessmen.

The document said the eavesdropping took place from March 8 to 28, 2002, when then ruling Democratic Party was selecting its presidential candidate. Roh Moo-hyun, the incumbent president, was gaining momentum in the party, and his name appears numerous times in the document.

Who produced the document, and how it was obtained by the Grand National Party?

According to Kim, “The document is a secret report prepared by the NIS. I cannot reveal the source to protect the whistleblower.” The political community suspected lawmaker Chung Hyung-keun, former official of the intelligence agency, was behind this. According to talks, after getting the documents few months before revelation, Chung made it public after presidential candidate Chung Mong-jun of National Alliance 21 officially pledged to support Roh, sharply raising chances for Roh to win the election.

However, Rep. Chung has denied the allegation, saying the document had nothing to do with him. Kim never revealed the channel either. It remained secret, and the vociferous wrangling surrounding the bugging scandal ended in a fadeout after the election was over.

Later, however, rumors acknowledging the contents of documents leaked out from NIS from time to time. One official of the NIS said on Sep. 26, “The document used a different font and format from the NIS ones, but the contents were true. An NIS insider may have taken some notes from the original documents and produced the one to hand over to the GNP, or possibly the GNP drafted the document based on memos.”

The NIS suspected a manager working at the Science Security Department delivered the document to the GNP, but another informant said, “No investigation was conducted on the suspect during the former NIS chair’s term of office because it would be as good as admitting we did the wiretapping.”

The same source said there is a possibility that the investigation was conducted after Ko Young-ku, the first head of the NIS under the current administration, took office, but the suspected manager is still in active service. It is against this backdrop that the NIS is alert to the results of the ongoing investigation by the prosecution.

Meanwhile, GNP vice spokesman Lee Jung-hyun issued a statement on Monday and said, “Then candidate Roh asserted at the televised candidate discussion that the document was not true, and was forged by some maneuvering GNP members,” adding, “This could trigger serious questions on his election if it is legally and morally acceptable.”

Yong-Gwan Jung yongari@donga.com