[EDITORIALS]Former president should speakNews reports that the National Intelligence Service helped cover up the existence of a “hidden daughter” of former president Kim Dae-jung has caused controversy.
According to the report, executives of the spy agency engaged in a special project in which they received money from a venture businessman in his 20s, and then allegedly provided the money to the woman and her mother to keep Mr. Kim’s extramarital affairs secret. The report also charged that “Jin Seung-hyeon Gate,” a sensational corruption scandal in 2000, was related to the special project.
Mr. Kim’s aide denied the news report saying, “We do not understand why such an allegation has emerged and been reported at this particular moment. We do not understand why the broadcasting station produced false reporting based on the unilateral account of Jin Seung-hyeon and defamed Mr. Kim.”
Mr. Kim is not president or a presidential candidate. He is a former president who finished his official term and thus his privacy needs to be protected.
It was more than 30 years ago that the alleged daughter of Mr. Kim was born. Whether the woman is really Mr. Kim’s daughter or not should not become a public issue. That is an issue only between Mr. Kim and the woman.
But the real nature of the problem lies in whether the National Intelligence Service acted as a “problem solver,” mobilizing illegal means to conceal the private life of a president. Nothing is clearly known to date about the agency’s role in the case. But it has been known by the court that a deputy director of the agency was deeply involved in the case, receiving money from Mr. Jin. A couple of other executives were also involved. It should be investigated whether the agency was improperly involved in the case and if it was engaged in illegal activity under top-level orders.
Considering all the facts known so far, it seems difficult for us to believe the agency executives’ account that their receipt of money from Mr. Jin took place in a personal capacity.
It has been some time since the case started. Still, the agency should come forward and tell the truth so that such a case can never occur in the future. Mr. Kim, furthermore, should publicly say whether he was aware of this when he was in office.
For the future of the agency, the truth concerning the case should be found out now.