[EDITORIALS]Dodging the blameThe announcement by the National Intelligence Service that illegal wiretapping continued into the Kim Dae-jung administration is drawing a backlash from former President Kim’s circle, and from the opposition Democratic Party. Specifically, the Democratic Party is claiming that a Roh Moo-hyun administration political conspiracy is behind the revelation ― that the intent is to finish off the Democratic Party in order to clear the way for a political restructuring. A close aide to former President Kim said, “The [scandal over] the illegal eavesdropping operation by the ‘Mirim’ team is fading, while the Kim administration is blamed for something it did not do. The essence of the matter is turned upside-down.”
But we feel that it is the attitude of the Democratic Party and former President Kim’s camp that is being turned upside down. The National Intelligence Service cannot make up a story that the Kim Dae-jung administration engaged in wiretapping if it didn’t do so. And it is not a conspiracy to simply reveal the truth. The public is feeling betrayed and resentful over the fact that illegal wiretapping continued under President Kim, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for championing human rights.
There can be different views about this revelation, including a sense that it is unfair. But even if it is unfair, to talk of conspiracies and backbiting is to ignore the significance of the wiretapping issue. It would only double the criticism that former President Kim’s circle is trying to dodge blame by blurring the real nature of the issue. Now, the order of the day is to apologize and give the people an explanation. Mr. Kim’s camp appears to be saying that the former president must have had no idea about the wiretapping. But that is beyond understanding. If he really did not know, it was a significant negligence of duty.
The Roh administration and the prosecutors investigating this case must use the utmost caution, considering how explosive this issue is. Since a conspiracy theory has been raised already, they must not give an impression that they want to use it for political purposes. The public remembers President Roh’s recent remark that “To bring up a political suspicion is an insult.” The only way to quiet the conspiracy theory is to find the complete truth, impose due punishment and build a system to stop the recurrence of illegal tapping.