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Lee, Kim Dae-jung Discussed Wiretap Case

Posted November. 28, 2005 05:44,   


It was revealed yesterday that Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan visited former President Kim Dae-jung’s house in Donggyo-dong, Seoul and discussed the investigation of former National Intelligence Service (NIS) directors Lim Dong-won and Shin Kun without detention. The two are accused of being actively involved in the NIS’ illegal eavesdropping during the Kim Dae-jung administration.

Accordingly, criticism is increasing over the way the prosecution is investigating the NIS eavesdropping and over the ruling party contacting former president Kim to discuss how to deal with the investigation subjects behind the scenes. Critics say the independence of the prosecution’s investigation is being defamed.

A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said on that day that “as far as I know, Prime Minister Lee didn’t meet Kim to explain that the detention of former NIS chiefs Lim and Shin was inevitable and to seek his understanding. He may have said that two former chiefs could be investigated without detention if they didn’t vehemently deny the prosecution’s investigation results and if they expressed their regrets.”

The official added: “Prime Minister Lee, who is tightly connected to Kim’s associates, might have thought that he could persuade the two former chiefs, who still stubbornly deny the prosecution’s investigation results, with the help of Kim. However, the prosecution had no choice but to seek an arrest warrant as they persisted on saying that they are innocent.”

It is being rumored that Lee consulted with Kim for one and a half hour, not for a half hour as the media reported.

Meanwhile, at approximately the same time, some members of the Uri Party are said to have called prosecution leaders to strongly ask for the investigation of the two former chiefs without detention.

Justice Minister Chun Jung-bae explained to President Roh at Cheong Wa Dae on November 11 that the detention of former chiefs Lim and Shin was inevitable with regard to the NIS illegal wiretapping case. The prosecution sought an arrest warrant on November 14, the day after Prime Minister Lee visited Kim’s house, and detained them after the warrant was issued on the afternoon of November 15.

In the meantime, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said regarding the timing of a cabinet reshuffling: “Considering the schedule of the regular session of the National Assembly, a reshuffling of the cabinet could not be expected at the end of the year. Because the National Assembly’s hearing prior to the appointment of important figures, which will be introduced starting next year, is expected to take a month, the reshuffling might take place as early as January.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com woogija@donga.com