[EDITORIALS]Security leaks need checkingThe U.S. government has reacted strongly to the disclosure by Representative Roh Hoe-chan of an alleged secret agreement between Washington and Seoul on a broader role for U.S. forces in South Korea.
A U.S. Defense Department official said, “The recent string of disclosures of secret documents and distortions of truth in Korea is causing serious harm to U.S.-Korea relations.” The official even said that the U.S. government was considering requesting the Korean government investigate how the documents were made public. It is a cause of concern that the level of trust between the two countries has reached a record low.
Commenting on the background of the Korean legislator’s disclosure, the U.S. official stated, “This disclosure was a calculated attack by those with access to government classified documents and who oppose the Roh Moo-hyun government’s readjustment of the Korea-U.S. alliance.” Of course, this claim is yet to be proven. However, there are some dubious points about the legislator’s disclosure. The Democratic Labor Party legislator claimed that he had taken notes from the minutes of a meeting that covered important classified information. However, the Korean Defense Ministry claims that it appears that someone had informed the legislator in detail, or passed classified documents to him.
A bigger reason for doubt rests on the fact that several people who share the legislator’s opinion that U.S. forces should withdraw from Korea are located in core positions in the Korean government. If these people had provided the legislator with the information to align public opinion against U.S. forces in Korea, it could be detrimental to our security. Already there are rumors that the United States is holding back security-related information from Korea because it does not trust Korean officials. A U.S. official remarked that Washington feels extremely uncertain on how to proceed with the issue of trust and understanding with Korea.
Yet, the Korean government claims that everything is fine with the Korea-U.S. relationship. This is why the people are so nervous and confused. The government should reveal whether the legislator’s claims are true, and whether there was a serious leak of classified information and, if so, how it came about. How can anyone trust a government that leaks classified information about agreements with other countries?