[EDITORIALS]Get to the bottom of the mess

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[EDITORIALS]Get to the bottom of the mess

"The National Intelligence Service is deceiving us," Lee Moo-young, former commissioner general of the National Police Agency, said. "We explained the truth behind the investigation when Mr. Lee was the commissioner general and asked for his cooperation," countered the former head of the National Intelligence Service's anti-Communist bureau.

The police and the National Intelligence Service are engaged in a fierce fight over why the police last year stopped its investigation into the 1987 murder of Susie Kim, a Korean expatriate in Hong Kong. Mr. Lee maintains that intelligence officers have dragged the police into the case to cover up wrongdoing at the spy agency. The former National Intelligence Service officer has implied that the decision to stop the police investigation was made by the commissioner general based on his own judgement.

The reason for halting the inquiry remains unclear. Regardless of the reason, the fight between the two organizations gives the impression that they are trying to fix blame on one another. More than anything else, Mr. Lee's assertion that the NIS officer suggested blaming a deceased deputy director of the agency for everything is shocking. If this is true, we cannot help but question the discipline within the intelligence agency.

A deep internal rift inside the agency was revealed when the Chin Seung-hyun financial scandal surfaced. Chung Sung-hong, the officer who ostensibly resigned to take responsibility for the Chin affair, said he was forced out by an attempt by some senior officers to get rid of him and his colleague. In the end, Mr. Chung was arrested on charges of receiving a 146 million won ($115,000) bribe from Mr. Chin. After the Lee Yong-ho case was reported, a similar drama played out at the prosecutors office.

These events show the seriousness of the crisis this administration's public authorities are in. Top state agencies are in disarray.

The prosecution must find the truth behind the death of Susie Kim. Finding out who's lying about why the inquiry was stopped would be a good start. Such are the tasks of a public authority like the prosecution. This would also clean up the mess resulting from the blame game and smear tactics.
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