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[Editorial] Ilsimhoe Spy Case Is Key

Posted November. 14, 2006 07:43,   


Prosecutors have taken over the documents in the Ilsimhoe spy case and have launched a full investigation. The investigation data on the three persons being probed, including the chief director of Ilsimhoe, Jang Man-ho, that was forwarded to the prosecution fills up 770,000 pages, which is equivalent to a one-ton truckload; when the data of the other two investigation targets is added, it amounts to one million pages. This is about the same as 3,000 300-page books.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors` Office has organized a special investigation team consisting of 9 prosecutors and has begun the data analysis process.

The duty to expand the investigation and to find out facts has been shifted to the prosecution, but it remains questionable how far they will be able to reveal the facts. Earlier, at a press interview concerning this case, the director of the National Security Service (NIS) said, “The facts (related to spies) in our society are shocking. The ideas South Koreans have about national security have become too loose.”

Taking into consideration his position and his comments, the possibility is high that the spying uncovered up to now only is the tip of an iceberg.

Nevertheless, the case was handed over to the prosecution after nothing further was found at the level of the NIS. The NIS might feel discouraged by the large amount of investigation data, but others point out that the large amount is good evidence of how large the scale of the case may be.

It is undeniable that some also have raised doubts that the NIS has been passive toward the investigation so far. They say that the 386 generation now in power is influencing the investigation. “[This case is] a typical case of espionage and spying against the South like those in the past and is part of a project to organize an underground party in the South,” figures who were once the core of Jusa-pa have testified.

The prosecution can face hardship if some turbulence hinders the investigation. Even within the prosecution, word was spread that “the press is blowing up reports" at an early stage of the investigation by the NIS. This is where the willingness of the prosecution toward the investigation becomes slightly doubtable.

I want to trust the conventional patriotism of the prosecutors who have stayed as an important part of national security, despite all the cases of human rights infringement in the past. This investigation provides a measurement for the future status and investigation capability of the public authorities. The have to employ themselves fully in this investigation for the sake of making this a chance to revive their near-dead function in the public security domain.