Sunday, February 10, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, January 18 2008] Insane Behavior by Intelligence Officials

A court has ruled in favor of the Chosun Ilbo in a libel suit filed by 15 National Intelligence Service officers demanding compensation and a correction regarding a July 26, 2005 article written by this newspaper about Korean intelligence running a secret bugging team between 1993 and 1998. The team recorded dinner conversations of core political, financial and media figures. The article said the NIS in January 2005 obtained CDs of those illegal wiretaps, which were conducted by The Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP), the predecessor of the NIS, and had them voice-printed by experts. On July 21 that year, the Chosun Ilbo broke the story that the ANSP ran a secret bugging team, codenamed Mirim, between 1993 and 1998. It was only then that the NIS said it would look into the matter. A Chosun Ilbo article dated July 26 reported that the NIS had already figured out the contents of the tapes and had tried to keep everything under wraps until the article appeared.

The court said there was no wrongdoing involved in the publication of the article, whose content was in the public’s interest and was based on reliable information. Very few articles are of as much interest to the public as those involving wiretaps by intelligence agencies. And if there were suspicions that an intelligence agency internally investigated such practices and may have hidden that fact, then this must be reported too. But the NIS said the article was libelous and damaged the integrity of its employees and instructed them to file a damage suit.

No comments: