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Lawmakers Grill New NIS Director

Posted November. 21, 2006 06:36,   


During the parliamentary intelligence committee’s hearing on Kim Mahn-bok, who was nominated as the new director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Song Young-sun, a lawmaker of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), asked Kim about the Ilsimhoe case, which implicates many former student activists in pro-North activities, “Is it all right to assume that the NIS ended its investigation into the ‘Ilsimhoe’ case?”

In response, Kim said, “Since the case is under investigation, I can’t say anything now. However, as far as I know, the NIS handed over the case to Prosecutors Office as a spy case.”

Kim also said, “It is too early to conclude that a band of secret agents are involved in this case,” as a reaction to a question from Kim Hyong-o, another lawmaker of the GNP.

Park Myung-kwang, a lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party, also asked questions about progress on the investigation of this case and Kim answered, “People are now viewing that since I was nominated as new director of the NIS, this case can be easily swept under the carpet. However, when it comes to this investigation, I will do what I should do.” Kim also added, “We are conducting a supplementary investigation.”

Kim also said, “The NIS has kept an eye on suspects since 2003 and even though I didn’t direct this case, I believe that the case was thoroughly investigated under the command of the current NIS Director Kim Seung-gyu.

Regarding the National Security Law, Kim said, “I strongly believe that this law must exist.”

Yoo Sun-ho, lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party, asked a question about the recent move to attack the NIS’s authority over investigating cases threatening national security, and Kim answered, “Given the fact that the South and North Korea are still confronting each other and North Korea hasn’t abandoned its plan to communize South Korea, it is too dangerous for the NIS to give up this important authority.”

In reaction to a question from Jeong Hyeong-geun, a lawmaker of the GNP, about North Korea’s nuclear programs, Kim answered, “It may look successful since the North succeeded in setting off a nuclear blast. However, it is not a complete success because it hasn’t reached the point where it can develop compact and light nuclear materials yet.”

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