Posted November. 22, 2013 08:37,
The prosecution asked a court to allow changes to be made to the indictment against the former head of National Intelligence Service, Won Sei-hoon, for the second time after it made the first change last month. At the first revision, the prosecutors said there were about 50,000 more retweeted postings. And this time, they said 1.21 million more tweets, so the indictment should be revised. Won was prosecuted for having NIS agents post comments slandering presidential candidates, such as Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo, on major Internet bulletin boards during last years presidential election. campaign It is interpreted that the prosecution is changing its indictment partially because of the need to prevent the Democratic Partys request for a special probe and to show it is doing the best.
According to the prosecution, of the 1.21 million tweets, 647,000 were about the election and 562,000 were about politics in general. Compared to its initial announcement in June where they said 73 online postings about the election were made by NIS agents, the scandal has gained more significance. Lee Jin-han, deputy prosecutor general at Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, said that initial postings exclusive of retweeted messages were 26,550 but because propagation (of messages) is important in an election, all of the 1.21 million postings are deemed illegal.
The NIS argues that the number of postings is exaggerated because all the messages automatically retweeted by Tweeter were also tallied. However, the substance of this issue is not about how many tweets were posted. The prosecution is determined that the use of automatic retweeting system bears testimony to the agencys intention to meddle in the election. Posting political comments alleged to be in violation of the election law or NIS law and even using the automatic retweeting system demonstrate the spy agencys clear intention of intervention.
In the course of revising the indictment for the first time, the prosecution experienced internal struggles, including a clash between its leadership and the investigation team. The second revision reflects the teams willingness to mitigate internal conflicts. Now, it will be difficult for the leadership to just ignore the investigation teams opinions.
The opposition Democratic Party still calls for the appointment of special prosecutors. The party raised the possibility of external pressures Thursday without solid evidence. The prosecution cannot but investigate this election meddling scandal at the risk of its fate. It has already been investigating 20 million tweets posted over the past two years one by one. The Democratic Party should also wait and see until the announcement of final results.