[EDITORIALS]A dubious Blue House storyThe Blue House’s explanation of its involvement in the national railroad’s failed oil deal in Russia is unsatisfactory. Not only is the explanation itself unconvincing, its timing raises futher doubts, since it came only after an opposition lawmaker raised the issue of Blue House involvement.
For about a month after the oil deal was made public, the Blue House was silent about it. Only last Friday did a presidential secretary say this about Blue House involvement: “The Information and Policy Monitoring Office inquired with the Korean National Railroad in November about how it made its decision to participate in the project.”
But that explanation came right after Grand National Party lawmaker Ahn Taek-soo said this, at a meeting of the National Assembly’s construction and transportation committee: “The Blue House inquired about the feasibility of the project with the Korean National Oil Corporation and SK Corporation late last year.” It seems the Blue House had intended to keep quiet, until Mr. Ahn raised the issue.
The explanation given by the Blue House’s policy monitoring office is not persuasive. The officials claim they closed their inquiry in November without reporting the results to their superiors. Let’s accept this at face value. It is still absurd for them to claim that they said nothing to their superiors about it until April 18 ―20 days after the oil deal became a major story in the press. Does this mean the president ordered the Blue House to accept the demand for a special prosecutor because he realized the situation was serious upon receiving a delayed report?
At any rate, the explanation that the policy monitoring office thought the case was closed is unpersuasive. One suspects that they tried to conceal Blue House involvement, or that they tried to protect their superiors by blocking the repercussions at a lower level. Moreover, at the beginning of the Roh administration, that office was headed by Lee Kwang-jae, the Uri Party lawmaker now accused of being behind the oil deal. At the very least, the suspicion cannot be avoided that the office tried to protect Mr. Lee. The Blue House must launch an investigation.
If the Blue House wasn’t trying to protect someone, it should have made public everything it knew. If it releases admisssions piece by piece, after each new revelation by the prosecution or the opposition, then no one will believe its excuses.