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End political dispute over NIS’ hacking

Posted July. 28, 2015 07:17,   


When debriefing on pending issues at a closed session at the parliamentary Intelligence Committee on Monday, Lee Byung-ho, chief of the National Intelligence Service, explained the results of analysis that were secured through complete restoring of information related to the hacking program, which had been deleted by the NIS agent who killed himself. Lee said, “Restoring of 51 cases of data that had been deleted suggested 10 cases regarding counter-terrorism issues, 31 cases of domestic testing, and 10 cases of failed testing. There were no investigation into domestic civilians at all, and wiretapping of Kakao Talk mobile messenger with Remote Control System (RCS) is impossible.” Even citing the Water Gate in the U.S., Lee decisively said, “I know how dreadful the truth is. I bet my own job on my words,” adding, “I will show you everything, if you visit NIS.” However, the opposition party is still seen doubtful of the claim.

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, chair of NPAD’s public information protection committee, said, “In order to investigate on its own the suspicion over NIS’ hacking into civilians’ mobile phones, adequate materials should be submitted, and at least five experts should participate, and analyze log files for about a month.” Ahn demands 33 cases of data in seven categories. If what Ahn demands is provided, all anti-North Korea and counterterrorism activities that NIS has conducted using hacking programs will be disclosed widely without reservation. It is like burning a whole house to catch an irritating bedbug. No matter how important finding the truth surrounding NIS’s suspected inspection of civilians is, at least minimum consideration should be given to national security that could determine the fate of the nation’s security.

Again, conspiracy theory has emerged in the NIS’ hacking case. The most noteworthy is the suspicion that Lim’s vehicle might have been switched, which was raised by some critics on the ground that the actual color of the license plate that NIS agent Lim used was different from the color of the plate number shown on CCTV clips. When the car was confirmed to be the same vehicle through police`s test and the National Forensic Service`s verification, some raised the suspicion over premature junking of the car, constantly reproducing and expanding conspiracy theories. If the political circle is to continue such wasteful debate, it would be better that the political circle leave all the investigations on the prosecution, under the condition of absolutely fair investigation is conducted, while the former takes the backseat. Prosecutorial probe will have access to as much data as possible, and Korea at least will be able to block public disclosing of classified data on national security.

The prosecution allocated on Monday the case of NIS’ suspected hacking of civilians’ mobile phones, which had been claimed by the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, to its Public Security Department. While thoroughly getting to the bottom of the case to find whether NIS’ hacking programs were used to support purposes other than national security using the hacking program, prosecutors should ensure that the hacking program has not been used on purpose other than national security, and be wary of the fact that NIS’s intelligence gathering aimed at catching spies shall not be leaked outside the country apart from the national security.