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NIS is trying to destroy evidence ahead of election, says PPP

NIS is trying to destroy evidence ahead of election, says PPP

Posted February. 15, 2022 07:50,   

Updated February. 15, 2022 07:50


The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) said on Monday that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is trying to replace its main server, where all the details of its activities are stored, raising suspicions that the spy agency is attempting to destroy evidence ahead of the presidential election. The NIS immediately issued a statement and dismissed the claim, saying it has no plans to replace the main server this year.

In a press conference on Monday, the PPP’s election committee head Kwon Young-se said he got a tip-off that the NIS will spend 5 billion won to replace its main server, where all of its activities are stored, and the information was confirmed by the head of the office of planning of the NIS. Kwon added that it is shocking to hear that the NIS is planning to replace the server, where everything from its budgets, activity reports, to personnel data are stored, ahead of the presidential election.

Won Hee-ryong, the policy chief of the PPP’s election committee, claimed that as can be seen in the “Cho Sung-eun case,” the head of the NIS was involved in political maneuvering and as a result, the main server of the NIS contains records of direct and indirect contacts and personnel management. Won went on to say that the evidence of partisanship and purge conducted by the spy agency in the name of eradicating deep-rooted evils could be destroyed if the server is replaced. Speaking to reporters, PPP presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol warned that if the NIS deletes or discards parts of the data while transferring the server, the public will have no other choice but to hold it responsible.

As the controversy continued, the NIS issued an unusually long statement and expressed strong regret, saying, “It is completely different from the truth.” The NIS said that since the data kept by the agency are thoroughly managed in accordance with the Public Records Management Act, the destruction or omission of the data is an unacceptable criminal act, asking not to associate the NIS with politics. An NIS official said the replacement of the NIS’ server is a regular work that needs to be done periodically like replacing auto parts, and has been done from the past, adding it is absurd that the allegation of destruction of evidence came out all of a sudden.

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com · Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com