S. Korea parliament probes spy agency’s elections meddling

Won Sei-hoonBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A parliamentary probe began last week into whether South Korea’s main intelligence agency tried to steer voters away from the liberal candidate during the 2012 presidential election. The country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) is accused of having deliberately leaked a classified document in order to embarrass the late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, who was also a member of the liberal Uri Party (now Democratic Party) of South Korea. IntelNews readers will recall that Won Sei-hoon, who headed NIS from 2008 to 2013, was recently indicted for meddling in the 2012 Presidential Election. According to the indictment, Won ordered a group of NIS officers to “flood the Internet” with messages accusing DP candidates of being “North Korean sympathizers”. Prosecutors allege that Won initiated the Internet-based psychological operation because he was convinced that “leftist adherents of North Korea” were on their way to “regaining power” in the South. The NIS affair has gripped South Korea’s media headlines for months, but fuel was added to the fire in June, when the NIS “mistakenly” declassified an internal document describing a series of secret North-South Korean negotiations. The document, from 2007, shows that the then-President of Korea, Roh Moo-hyun, from the Uri Party, had proposed to North Korean officials the establishment of a “maritime peace zone” along the disputed border between the two nations. Liberal politicians allege that, according to South Korean declassification laws, the document should have remained secret for many decades, and accuse the NIS of deliberately leaking it in order to promote the image of South Korean liberals as “North Korean sympathizers”. Meanwhile, another senior South Korean security official, former Seoul metropolitan police chief Kim Yong-pan, has also been indicted for allegedly hampering a police investigation into Won’s internet campaign. This series of apparently interlinked events is now at center stage in the parliamentary probe, as rival parties prepare to clash over the allegations. During Thursday’s proceedings, members of the ruling Saenuri Party –an alliance of conservatives, nationalists, and anti-communists– walked out in protest against DP’s charges of corruption in the country’s security forces. Many observers in South Korea expect that the parliamentary probe will resolve this issue once and for all, as it appears now “almost certain” that the NIS was behind last month’s leak. The question is, did Korea’s conservative President, Park Geun-hye, who won the 2012 elections by a slim three percent margin, know about the NIS campaign against her political rivals? She has so far remained mostly silent on the subject, saying she did not benefit from NIS’s Internet campaign.

* Thanks to Hyun Song for research assistance with this post.
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5 Responses to S. Korea parliament probes spy agency’s elections meddling

  1. At least in Korea the parliament will investigate these things, unlike the USA where the 1980 “October Surprise” remains swept under the rug and former Director of Central Intelligence George H.W. Bush gets aircraft carriers named after himself following a spectacular criminal career .. notable moments including but not limited to; Salvador Allende overthrow to October Surprise to Iran-Contra to Commander in Chief to Godfather making a phone call opening Swiss accounts in the amount of $250,000,000 to get an Interpol warrant off Dick Cheney’s back over bribes in Nigeria that can be tied to the murders of environmental activists..

    http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/xfile.html

    ^ If Congress would have pursued the 1980 October Surprise to its logical conclusion, there would never have been a 2nd Bush era and maybe we would have some semblance of sane leadership that would refrain from pushing aggressive war games in North Korea’s face two months out of twelve months, year in and year out (ok, somewhat tangential but intelligence and politics are a bad marriage anywhere in the world, and I think makes a statement about the criminal reality of modern culture on the whole, east & west)

  2. Peter Wallerberger says:

    It intrigues me somewhat as to “what is the problem with establishing a Maritime Peace Zone”
    between the two Korean factions? A commendable solution.

    I guess it could be monitored & patrolled by the USS Pueblo – (TFH) !!

  3. TFH says:

    @Peter: You bet !)

  4. Pete says:

    Yes some members of security, intelligence and also military bodies mentally position themselves as guardians of correct authority – higher in their mind than democracy. Democratic views that diverge from these authoritarian attitudes are not seen as by the authoritarians as acceptable diversity but as the views of dangerous leftwing rogues – tantamount to treason.

    Reconciling the security true believer or “cold warrior” mindset with democracy is a continuing problem. This reflects on the debate going on in S Korea and also over Snowden.

  5. Peter Wallerberger says:

    ‘Guardians of correct authority’ ? An apt description Pete, almost identical to a particular Master who I encountered at boarding school !! :)

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