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Former Chiefs of NIS Managed Wiretapping

Posted October. 27, 2005 04:22,   


The prosecution discovered that during the Kim Dae-jung administration, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) (formerly known as the National Security Planning Agency) illegally listened in on mobile phone conversation of not only politicians of the ruling and opposition parties but also personnel around the president, and that the chief of the agency had managed the operations.

The wiretapping case investigation team of the Supreme Prosecutors Office indicted former NIS Second Deputy Director Kim Eun-sung for charges of managing the wiretapping operations (a violation of the Communication Secrets Protection Act) on Wednesday.

The prosecution also announced that Shin Kuhn and Lim Dong-won (former NIS chiefs during the Kim Dae-jung administration) were involved in this operation as well. The prosecution plans to summon Shin and Lim this weekend for further investigation and then go through steps to charge them.

Besides Shin and Lim, dozens of former and incumbent NIS employees in the bugging team were also involved in Kim’s operations, according to the prosecutors.

The prosecution said that with the help of Kim, the R2 (cable-broadcasting network-based wiretapping devices) bugging team under the Security Department (then known as Department 8) illegally wiretapped a local businessman, Choi Kyu-sun (who involved in a corruption scandal involving former President Kim`s son, Kim Hong-gul), several times from October 2000 to November 2001.

The R2 bugging team spied on phone conversations between the late Kim Yun-hwan (then DNP leader) and MDP members regarding the policy coalition among the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), and the Democratic National Party (DNP) in April 2001. Later in July and August, the agents also intercepted telephone conversations of Hwang Jang Yop, former secretary of North Korea`s ruling Workers’ Party who defected to the South, prior to his visit to the United States.

In September, the agents listened in on phone conversations regarding the ousting of Lim Dong-won (then Unification Minister) between then ULD Secretary General Lee Yang-hee and other ULD lawmakers.

Using R2, the agents entered the mobile phone numbers of politicians, businessmen, and high-ranking officials that they needed in advance and then listened in on conversations all day long. They intercepted dozens of conversations a day.

Furthermore, the intercepted conversations were summarized in the form of communication intelligence reports to notify to the chief of the agency and the second deputy director. About seven or eight conversations were reported every day.

The prosecution will continue its investigation, not excluding the possibility that some information from the bugged conversations could have reached Cheong Wa Dae or high power holders.