President Park and Saenuri Party’s baffling muteness on ‘NIS political gaffe’

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in Hankyoreh on Mar. 19, 2013, reporting NIS’s intervention on domestic politics and bewildering silence from president Park and ruling Saenuri Party who benefited the most from the incident during last year’s presidential election. 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.
Diametric contrast to detailed orders on other matters
No comment from ruling party speaks person
“Party doesn’t have accurate information …
President must have been briefed on this matter
No one knows why she keeps quiet”
 
Although the circumstantial evidence on NIS’s (National Intelligence Service) political mingling during Myung-bak Lee’s government is piling up, president Park and ruling Saenuri party do not show any hint of commenting on the matter at all.
 
Following the suspicion encircling so-called ‘NIS commentating agent’ incident that had flared up just before the presidential election last year, internal NIS memos indicating then chief Se-hoon Won’s illicit directives requesting such covert operations have surfaced quite recently. Some of the directives contain circumstance such as NIS psychological warfare division’s plan to promote pro-government sentiment among young generations through psychological warfare operation that NIS was actually operating undercover to manipulate public opinion through internet communities.
 
But, president Park the chief executive of corporate Korea remains silent on this matter. Even though the NIS incidence unfolded itself into an uncharted dimension with the exposure of novel suspicion that chief of NIS himself could be involved in this unprecedented affair on Mar. 18, president Park never mentioned anything on this incident at senior secretary meeting she presided herself. It is diametrically contrasting to her detailed orders on ministerial administrative matters like “provide civil petition forms and establish a feedback system on civil complaints.” President Park, at a national agenda meeting with ministers and vice ministers last week, provided directives on every nitty-gritty items on national administrative policies.
 
When ‘NIS commentating agent’ incident broke out just before presidential election last year, she stood dumb on the essential issue of the affair, suspicion of NIS’s intervention on domestic politics. Instead, she actually defended NIS by raising the possibility of human rights violation against NIS agent. At a press conference on Dec. 14 last year, she criticized the way Democratic Unification Party (UDP) personnel discovered NIS agent’s address and said “they uncovered NIS female employee’s address by a method only sexual violators may use.” At presidential candidate debate later on Dec. 16, she falsely lambasted at then UDP presidential candidate MR. Jae-in Moon “UDP detained Ms. Kim for 3 days and 2 nights not allowing her to have meal or drink during that time. Outright human rights violation.” although Ms. Kim locked herself in during the whole time and did not turn herself in to police staying outside demanding her voluntary surrender.
 
Saenuri party is doing the same thing. Although they agreed with UDP for performing national assembly investigation on governmental administration after prosecution’s investigation on the negotiating table with UDP, no party leader comments on the seriousness on this affair. Even the speaks person did not make any remark on this incident.
 
All this bewildering beharior instigates suspicion that president Park is intentionally ostracizing the NIS affair. Under the condition of anonymity, one politician in ruling sphere said “although we took NIS’s side during election campaign to defend ourselves, we should change now. New leads that NIS has been mingling with domestic politics are exposed. Unless she intends to use NIS as an outreach for governmental security as Myung-bak Lee’s government did, she needs to express her stance on this matter explicitly. When president stays tight-lipped like now, police and prosecution investigation may go nowhere, which will inflate people’s distrust.” Another Saenuri party top official said “We don’t have any intention to shield NIS for things that happened during Myung-bak Lee’s government. Though our party spares words since we don’t know exactly what happened, president Park must have already been briefed on the truth of this matter. I don’t know why she acts like this.”
 
Reporter Jong-cheol Kim 김종철 기자 phillkim@hani.co.kr
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