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Lee Sang-eop At the Core Of Suspicion

Posted July. 17, 2007 03:16,   

한국어

Lee Sang-eop, former deputy director for domestic affairs at the National Intelligence Service (NIS), is the key to solving questions surrounding the issue of whether the spy agency compiled ‘Lee Myung-bak X-Files.’ On July 16, the Grand National Party (GNP) announced the former deputy director as the general director of the ‘Lee Myung-bak Task Force (TF),’ and as the party plans to file a lawsuit against him, an investigation by the prosecution looks inevitable.

However, ex-deputy director Lee is remaining silent. On July 13, during a telephone call with the media, he said, “The assertions of ex-mayor Lee’s side are groundless political offensives. They are not worthy of a response.” After this last comment, he has avoided media contact. Following his retirement last year, Lee opened a private office in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, but after this incident, he has not been seen. He is known to be in possession of two mobile phones.

Suspicions surrounding Lee are increasing. The GNP has raised suspicions linked to the fact that he is the brother-in-law of Moon Hee-sang, former presidential chief of staff to President Roh Moo-hyun and ex-chairman of the Uri Party. In December 2004, when Lee was named deputy director, Rep. Moon was the head of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee. This means that Lee may have leaked information learned from the spy agency to influential members of the ruling party.

Rep. Moon said, “Pointing toward me and ex-deputy director Lee as being behind this (political maneuvering) is an insult. If I am found to have done a deed with even a spot of shame, I will give up my political career.”

However, at the party’s supreme council meeting on July 16, GNP lawmaker Park Gye-dong said, “In early 2004, the NIS formed two investigation groups consisting of 3 to 4 people. It appears that the teams were for digging for illegal misconduct by candidates from the opposition party during the provincial elections.” He added, “They must have thought the results were satisfying, because they greatly expanded the project under the direction of Lee Sang-eop in June 2005.”

On July 16, an important Cheong Wa Dae official said, “I am aware that the office of senior presidential secretary for civil affairs and petitions questioned former deputy director Lee about his involvement in former mayor Lee’s case.” He added, “We’ll have to just trust ex-deputy director Lee.”



yongari@donga.com