Here is the update on the surveillance scandal happening within South Korea. The illegal surveillance was investigated back in 2010 and the documents used as evidence for that investigation have now been leaked to the media conveniently before April’s parliamentary elections:
The Prime Minister’s Office conducted illegal surveillance of a number of people across the country over the past three years, mostly those critical of the current Lee Myung-bak administration, reporters of state-run KBS said yesterday, dropping the biggest bombshell revelation yet ahead of the April general election.
Members of the KBS labor union, who are mostly reporters and producers, said during an online news program dubbed “Reset KBS News” yesterday that they “exclusively obtained” 2,691 reports written by officials of the public ethics office of the Prime Minister’s Office.
“An official of the public ethics office had all of these documents,” Sim In-bo, a KBS reporter, said. “Considering the fact that much of the evidence was already destroyed, we expect the actual number of reports to be huge.”
The prosecution said yesterday that the reports were already obtained by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ office in 2010 when they were investigating the illegal surveillance scandal against a local businessman. But the prosecutors referred to only a part of the report, focusing only on the businessman, and submitted them to the court as evidence. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
So once again this is old news that is now being exploited to effect the April elections. What I found most interesting about the illegal surveillance was how unsophisticated it was:
A report on the former head of the National Police Agency, Kang Hee-rak, details his personal information, career records and personal relationships. It evaluates Kang’s leadership, personal network and capabilities by awarding him stars in each area. It reads: “He shows he is capable in the workplace in general but has some conflicts with the Seoul Police Agency’s head.”
Former Minister of National Defense Lee Sang-hee was also on the evaluation report saying “Lee had conflicts with the National Intelligence Agency due to his dictatorial leadership.” Lee was replaced five months after the report was written, the program said. (….)
A string of ministerial-level officials and loyalists of late president Roh Moo-hyun were included in the reports, such as: Lee One-koo, former South Chungcheong provincial governor opposing the current government’s Sejong City project, and Lee Sei-woong, former president of the Korea Red Cross who was appointed during the Roh administration. The officials appointed by Roh on the reports all resigned in the middle of their terms, the program said, during the current Lee administration.
A report shows that the Prime Minister’s Office even allegedly followed every moment of a high-ranking government official’s affair with a woman in 2009.
When I initially heard of illegal surveillance I was thinking rooms were bugged with microphones and secret cameras but from what I have read so far this ethics group was writing reports about people based off of open sources and following the person around. It is pretty clear that the Prime Minister’s office was using these reports to weed out remaining left leaning officials in the Korean government from the Roh Moo-hyun years. There still hasn’t been anything released that shows that President Lee Myung-bak ordered the surveillance by the ethics group. Maybe there is more information that will come out but so far I am underwhelmed. I think the Prime Minister’s office should be able to write evaluation reports of government officials using open sources but following people around is improper and any additional people responsible for it should be held accountable that were not held accountable after the 2010 investigation.
This article also confirmed that the surveillance was used as I speculated earlier to link the Korean leftists and their media allies to the coordinated lies used to push the US beef mad cow scare of 2008:
Journalists were not the exception, the reports say. Some reports were titled “the current situation in the YTN news agency’s labor union strike” or “the ongoing situation in the KBS labor union.” A report written on Nov. 9, 2009, says “Check the former writers of the ‘PD Diary’ program and the editor in chief of Hankyoreh 21 Magazine.”
At the time, producers and writers of the “PD Diary” program of MBC were on trial for charges of defaming the government with their broadcast on U.S. beef and mad cow disease. Hankyoreh 21 supported the program.
This is pretty much what this illegal surveillance scandal looks like as well, another coordinated effort by the Korean leftists and their media allies to take down the Lee Administration. At least this time they actually are using something that has some facts to support it.