Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in Hankyoreh on Mar. 19, 2013, reporting National Intelligence Service’s strictly prohibited unlawful interference on domestic political matters. All rights regarding this post stay with the author(s) of the original article or with Hankyoreh and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institution(s) / position(s) to authentic one(s) as much as possible but, unfortunately, some of them still can be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link below.
National Assembly member Sun-Mi Jin reveals
Memo requests secret operation on internet opinion manipulation during election
“Beef-up psychological warfare effort against young generations to promote pro-government sentiment”
Squares well with NIS agent’s recent ‘web portal comment’ incident
The internal memos of National Intelligence Service (NIS) containing Chief Se-hoon Won’s direct order to interfere with domestic politics are exposed. Since the comments NIS agent Kim left on web portal news items assimilate so closely to the directives in those memos, suspicion that she acted as ordered by the chief is smoking up. NIS law strictly prohibits it’s agents sticking to domestic politics whatsoever, opinion points out that the investigation should be widened to include chief Won and NIS as a whole.
According to memo titled “Chief’s directives” <Hankyoreh> obtained on Mar. 17 through National Assembly member Sun-mi Jin (Democratic Unification Party), one can spot numerous items like △Get involved in internet opinion manipulation △Mobilize NIS psychological warfare team (Ms Kim was one of them) and beef up psychological warfare effort against young generations to promote pro-government sentiment △Keep religious groups’ anti-government activity at bay △Engage in public opinion warfare on national projects such as 4 river project. There are also circumstantial evidences to press government offices to oppress the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (KTEWU) and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).
Puting explanations from former and incumbent NIS agents together, “Chief’s directives” seem to contain NIS internal intranet uploads of summaries of chief Won’s orders and directives during monthly expanded department head meetings. Central headquarter and regional department heads are known to attend the meeting. This time, directives dated during May 2009 and Nov 2012 were revealed.
In the directive dated Nov 18, 2011 just after Seoul mayoral byelection on Oct 26, 2011 won by Won-soon Park then opposition candidate, read “malicious fabrications cause enormous impact on election. We should play a critical role since we can’t undo election results. In particular, pro-North Korean forces look for inciting national disintegration by circulating falsifications through social networks like Twitter during election period. We need to act preemptively.” This directs unswerving interference to public opinion that was shaping over internet and social network services during election period.
In a directive dated on Jul 19, 2010 read “Bear in mind that psychological warfare team’s plan to promote pro-government sentiment among young generations is what we should do no matter what.” NIS agent Kim’s brisk activity over internet communities like ‘Today’s humor’ where young people’s hot spots parallels quite well with the directive.
Another directive on Feb 18, 2011 indicated “Concerning pro-North Korea faction eradication, winning against enemies within us like KCTU or KTEWU is much harder than winning North Korea. Regional department heads not NIS agents should be directly working with other governmental offices to ensure disciplinary actions against them.” On Mar 19, 2010, the directive requested “Some religious groups go off their high-minded ways showing too much interests on political matters. We should disciplined them judiciously.”
Representative Sun-mi Jin said “I obtained these memos through a credible tipster. If this is true, NIS committed a crime by unlawfully stepping into domestic politics and shattering national integrity. This should be strictly prohibited.” To this allegation, NIS speaks person said “I can’t confirm anything on memos in our intranet. I can’t reveal if there was anything like that in it.”
Reporter Hwan-bong Jung 정환봉 기자 email@example.com