“Strong pressure from top brass while investigating NIS agent incident” – police investigation chief

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <OhmyNews> on April 20, 2013, reporting an investigation chief’s revelation that police top brass tried to intervene the investigation of NIS agent’s illegal mingle with domestic politics from the start. They even transferred the investigation chief to other police station away from the on-going investigation when she would not willing to cooperate with them fully. All rights regarding this post stay with the author(s) of the original article or with <OhmyNews> 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 at the bottom.

Suspicion smokes up that police top brass exerted illegitimate influence on the investigation of illegal involvement in domestic politics by National Intelligence Service (NIS). While the prosecution decided to reinvestigate the whole NIS’s politics interference case from scratch, it seems necessary to clarify suspicion on investigation curtailment and cover up. Huge aftermaths are unavoidable if the suspicion of top police brass’ illegitimate interference turns out to be true.

According to <Kyunghyang Shinmun> on 20th, former investigation chief at Suseo Police, Seoul, Ms. Eun-hee Kwon (currently the investigation chief at Songpa Police, Seoul) who had been in charge of its initial investigation said to correspondents on 19th that “(During investigation,) top police brass called me several times and guided me ‘not to divulge any words that could remind people of suspicion on (NIS agent) Ms. Kim of illegal mingling with presidential election campaign.”

Chief Kwon said “National Police Agency (NPA) called me several times and questioned me about investigation stuffs appeared on news articles. Once, an NPA top official gave me a strong warning over a phone call.” Chief Kwon said it felt like an external pressure.

“Following NPA top brass’ pressing phone calls, Seoul Regional Police Agency barged into the investigation illegitimately”

Suspicion also arises that Seoul Regional Police Agency (SRPA) barged into the investigation illegitimately. Chief Kwon said “After the interim investigation briefing (on December 16, last year), SRPA did not want to provide the final analysis results of computer hard disks of NIS agent Ms. Kim (29) to us. We (Suseo police station investigation team) protested fiercely. We even said to them ‘You know this is violation of law!'”

It is also revealed that SRPA tried to return hard disks Ms. Kim had presented back to her but had to cancel it due to ferocious protest from Suseo police station investigation team. Chief Kwon said “We argued to SRPA that computers and hard disks that suspects had presented were practically seized evidences and decisions on them should be made by Suseo police (according to the criminal procedure code).”

Chief Kwon who passed the 43rd bar exam was specially recruited to police in 2005 as a female chief superintendent for the first time but was abruptly transferred to Songpa police investigation chief in the middle of the investigation last February.

Last 18th, police announced the investigation result prosecuting three including NIS agent Ms. Kim (29) for just the violation of NIS law and staying the prosecution of NIS psychology intelligence section chief who had declined to cooperate with investigation and transferring the case to the public prosecution. Although they tampered with politics, police did not prosecute the crime of violation of election law and, because of this, was criticized as a police who prosecuted burglars for just trespassing.

Asked to analyze 78 keywords but they analyzed only 4 with a lame excuse “others were irrelevant”

It is also revealed that SRPA tried to curtail and coverup during the hard disk analysis. Suseo police investigation team first asked SRPA to look for posts and comments related to domestic politics using 78 keywords from Ms. Kim’s computer hard disk.

But, SRPA ordered to reduce the number of keywords for ‘quick investigation’. Chief Kwon said “I first protested and objected fiercely but, after a half-a-day meeting, I had to narrow them down to four keywords (Geun-hye Park, Saenuri Party, Jae-in Moon, Unified Democratic Party).”

After all, police held an interim investigation announcement and said “We did not find any of Ms. Kim’s web postings.” with this shoddy analysis result. Chief Kwon said “We delivered our objection (to interim investigation announcement) that it could influence our future investigation (to top brass) through chief of our police.”

SRPA refuted chief Kwon’s claims with an explanation material in the same day afternoon. SRPA said Suseo police had selected 100 keywords when asking for evidence analysis and most of them had been irrelevant to the case. It also said that it had had to restrict the scope of hard disk analysis since “Ms. Kim handed in her hard disk under the condition that ‘police could search it for the existence of slander or support postings for presidential candidates Jae-in Moon and Geun-hye Park.'”

link: “국정원 직원 댓글 사건, 경찰 고위층이 강한 외압”

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