[EDITORIALS]Getting to the truthThe so-called “X-file” is stirring up the whole nation. Curiosity about the unidentified material whose authenticity no one can confirm is sweeping the whole nation. Verification of the truth is neglected. Perhaps people are getting excited while pursuing a phantom, so it is important to find out the truth. The truth shouldn’t be buried -- we should dig it out. The wisest solution lies in approaching the problem from the truth and facts.
There is one premise in approaching the truth. No presuppositions should be made. Presupposition is the largest obstacle to approaching the truth, because it can incite the curiosity of the public and lead in the wrong direction, making the essence of the problem blurred. Therefore, it is essential that we all maintain a coolheaded attitude of pursuing the truth in accordance with reasonable order and procedure. Considering the complex nature of the people and the contents involved, the truth should be verified according to a more thorough and reasonable procedure.
The first thing to be verified is eavesdropping. And the essence of the problem lies there. The National Security Planning Agency, predecessor of the National Intelligece Service, operated eavesdropping teams to illegally tap the conversations of politicians, businessmen and journalists widely. And witnesses proving this come from former spy agency employees.
We cannot but be surprised to find that such illegal activities were committed during the civilian government that boasted of being the first democratic government, not a military-backed regime. As there were more than 8,000 recorded tapes, most of the leaders of our society were the victimes of wiretapping. It must also be clarified whether such illegal tapping was committed by the governments that succeeded the first civilian government. We cannot leave alone the reality where people carry multiple numbers of mobile phones out of fear of having their conversations tapped.
The fact that the contents of illegally tapped conversations were leaked illegally poses another problem. Namely that illegally tapped conversations were leaked through illegal means pertains to the possibility that the illegal recordings were to be used for another illegal purpose. Reports of attempted deals over the recorded tapes come one after another.
The National Intelligence Service must investigate the truth at the risk of its honor. It must clarify in what way, on whom and when the eavesdropping was committed, and to whom the reports were made and how they were utilized. In addition, it must verify whether more than 8,000 recorded tapes still exit.
The next thing to be verified is whether the contents of the conversation tapped are true or not. No one should be hurt by illegal activities committed by the national power. Therefore, the truth of the information should be verified. We shouldn’t consider something as an established fact only because there is a recorded tape. It must be confirmed by the authorities whether the contents conform to related facts or not. A large part of the “X-file” broadcast by a television station was exposed during investigations of the “National Tax Service case” six years ago and many concerned people were punished. The investigation must include whether the content is the repeat of already prosecuted charges.
The people’s right to know is important. But the privacy of individuals should also be protected. There is no privacy in a society watched by Big Brother as in “1984.” The people’s right to know has its significance when the object to know is based on facts. Otherwise, it will only be swept into populism.