[EDITORIALS]Fingers pointing all over

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[EDITORIALS]Fingers pointing all over

Kwon Roh-kap, a former adviser of the Millennium Democratic Party, said, "I was briefed on intelligence reports but I did not accept any bribes," when he was summoned to the prosecution for an investigation of bribery charges. Meanwhile, a National Intelligence Service official told the prosecutors that he worked for a "special operation" to raise funds right before National Assembly elections in 2000. It is unimaginable that such undemocratic practices have taken place under the administration created by the democratization forces.

We wonder why the nation's chief intelligence organ makes intelligence reports to a civilian and raises funds for unknown purposes. Although he was the second most influential politician in the ruling camp, he has behaved like a political mogul. It is not clear whether the intelligence report was requested by Mr. Kwon or given voluntarily by the intelligence service. But the National Intelligence Service's flattery amazes us.

The extent of the abuse of power and the details of its misuse should be exposed when the prosecution concludes its investigations. But the details reported so far are bad enough. Kim Eun-sung, a former head of domestic intelligence, is said to have testified that he received 100 million won ($78,000) from Chin Seung-hyun, the kingpin of one of our recent scandals, and handed over 50 million won of the sum to Kwon Roh-kap. Mr. Kwon denied receiving the money and asserted that he received only an intelligence report on Choi Gyu-seon, not a bribe, at his home. In fact, it is much more serious than receiving bribes that intelligence reports were given to Mr. Kwon. It is a serious abuse of public office when a ranking intelligence officer reports to a private person. If the intelligence agency gives intelligence reports and funds to the powerful, it is clear proof that power has been privatized.

The prosecution should investigate the "special operation" the intelligence agency launched to raise election funds. It should find out whether the agency gave intelligence reports to individuals or institutions other than Mr. Kwon, and should look at how intelligence is used. Neither is it clear how the national leadership used the intelligence report, which was made in 2000 and was related to Choi Gyu-seon and his connections with President Kim's third son, Kim Hong-gul. Mr. Kwon claims that the charges against him are trumped up, and to add to the fun, other persons have complained that the investigation is just a ruse to divert attention from the investigations of Mr. Kim's three sons. It is the prosecution's job to sort out this mess.

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