[EDITORIALS]If Kim had only listened...

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[EDITORIALS]If Kim had only listened...

In a court petition for a medical parole by Kim Eun-seong, former head of domestic intelligence at the National Intelligence Service, Mr. Kim said, "When I reported on Choi Gyu-seon to the Blue House two years ago, Kim Hong-gul and Kwon Roh-kap raged at me for slandering an up-and-coming person." The petition filed by Mr. Kim, who was arrested on bribery charges in the financial scandal involving Chin Seung-hyun, gives more reasons for thinking the odor surrounding Kim Hong-gul, the president's third son, can only get more pungent.

President Kim, Mr. Kim says, ordered that "the National Intelligence Service should be responsible for taking care of the Choi Gyu-seon matter." According to the petition, Mr. Kim did just that, but was immediately attacked by both Kim Hong-gul and Mr. Kwon for fabricating information. He quoted the men as saying, "Whoever wrote that report should resign." The contents of the petition show that the ruling power's private channels took precedence over the chain of command in the administration.

The allegation that the head of domestic intelligence at the national intelligence agency was attacked by the boss of President Kim's loyalist political faction and by the president's son shows that the Kim administration's exercise of power is patriarchical in style. Kim Eun-seong describes his post at the intelligence agency in a self-deprecatory manner; he calls himself a "sorcerer dancing on blades" at the agency. The president's pledge to bar the intelligence agency from involvement in politics was, it seems, just a hollow promise.

What frustrates us most is President Kim's attitude; if he had taken the original report about his son's activities seriously from the beginning, there would have been no loss of public confidence and no national crisis regardless of the abuse of power by his aide and his son. Suspicion that President Kim's affection for his son triggered the scandal is firmly entrenched in people's minds.

The revelations in the petition should be explained. Lim Dong-won, the presidential adviser on North Korea and director of the National Intelligence Agency at the time of the original report, should speak up. The Blue House and the intelligence service should reveal the whole story and study whether controls on presidential relatives should be increased.
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