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Spy Agency Spied on Citizens and Politicians

Posted February. 27, 2008 08:16,   


It has been revealed that the National Intelligence Agency (NIS), the nation’s top spy agency, accessed 74,660 types of confidential information of individual citizens for three years and eight months beginning January 2003 to August 2006.

The activities of the spy agency were high during July and August 2006, a period when it reviewed, without authorization or prior consent, then-leading presidential contender Lee Myung-bak’s personal information regarding real estate assets.

The new finding was made public yesterday by Grand National Party lawmaker Lee Sang-bae, who reviewed the monthly internal data of the agency’s access to personal records gained through the Government Administration and Home Affairs Ministry`s Government for Citizens (G4C) system.

According to the findings, the spy agency accessed social security information 48,590 times, family information 25,389 times, zoning information 655 times, and land recordings 14 times, among others.

Since implementation of the Administrative Information Sharing System in August 2006, only a handful of staff members can review the personal information of a citizen.

In particular, the NIS looked up personal records on real estate assets 620 times (94.6%), out of a total of 655, during just the two months of July and August 2006. The agency did not look up the real estate recordings other than during those two months. Last year, the spy agency confessed that one of its senior officials on its anti-corruption task force team had looked into the personal real estate records of President Lee Myung-bak’s brother-in-law, Kim Jae-jeong.

During the same period, the intelligence agency beefed up snooping activities in other areas, as well. Now, these findings are fueling suspicion, as some politicians alleged, that the intelligence agency spied on politicians, including President Lee.

Rep. Lee demanded, “We can’t ignore the fact that the intelligence agency looked into the personal lives of politicians under the Roh Moo-hyun administration. We have to know why the agency accessed the private information of individuals and politicians on so many occasions, and why it increased its surveillance into real estate records during July and August in 2006.”