[EDITORIALS]Clear up wiretap questions

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[EDITORIALS]Clear up wiretap questions

The Grand National Party asserts that the National Intelligence Service has been wiretapping politicians and media executives, and suspicions about the charges are snowballing. Shin Kuhn, the intelligence agency's chief, denied the alleged wiretapping, arguing that the documents -- transcriptions of the wiretapped conversations --were not from his agency. Many people who appeared in the documents, however, admitted having such conversations. The National Assembly speaker Park Kwan-yong said he had been wiretapped, which is truly confusing.

Mr. Shin said the transcribed documents presented by the GNP had not been made by the intelligence service, pointing out that the typeface and vocabulary did not resemble what his agency normally uses. Mr. Shin suggested inspecting the service's facility, adding that his agency does not wiretap indiscriminately. The public must feel safe using telephones, he said. "The moment I saw the documents, I thought they were fabrications," implying that the Grand National Party created them. Who will, however, believe in the government's statement that it does not wiretap? Even before the GNP made the claim, wiretapping was an open secret in our society. Undeniably, senior officials, politicians, Blue House officials, media executives and intelligence and investigative authorities all have feared being wiretapped. Many of them carry more than one mobile phone to protect their conversations from eavesdroppers, and that reality makes the wiretapping allegations convincing. The intelligence service must remember that it is responsible for the widespread wiretapping fear for leaving the longstanding doubts unresolved.

Politicians' reactions to the allegations are also strange. The Grand National Party representatives, media executives and reporters admitted having allegedly wiretapped conversations, while the Millennium Democrats deny doing so.

It is wrong for politicians to approach the wiretapping issue as a subject of political dispute. The two parties must learn that freeing the public from the fear of wiretapping by revealing the truth is the most urgent matter --and doing that will be the best way to win votes in the presidential election.
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