[EDITORIALS]2 Kims were no democratsWe have lived through savage times. We have lived in an era in which government agencies wildly eavesdropped on conversations of Koreans. The administrations of Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo ordered illegal surveillance, and the Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung administrations stuck to the pattern.
What makes the people angrier is that those who boasted about a “civilian government” or a “people’s government,” the administrations of Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung, key fighters for democracy who fought against military dictators, continued to use the same methods while in office. They deceived the people in raising their voices for democratization and human rights.
The National Intelligence Service under the Kim Dae-jung administration was accused of illegally eavesdropping on 1,800 prominent politicians, senior government officials, businessmen and journalists. A group of 32 agents worked around the clock.
Many of the cases were irrelevant to national security. The chief of the spy agency was briefed every day about information collected illegally. We can easily imagine that the Blue House would have been briefed and that the information was used to manipulate domestic politics.
The prosecution investigated Kim Dae-jung administration officials only because the statue of limitations has not passed, but the Kim Young-sam administration was equally guilty.
Kim Dae-jung, however, is claiming that detention of two former spy agency heads in his administration was unfair. The Democratic Party is claiming that the Roh Moo-hyun administration has begun efforts to purge Kim Dae-jung, trying to highlight its loyalty to the former president.
The Uri Party also said it had “fairness” concerns, saying that the original sinners are going scot-free while those who followed customary practices were being punished. The governing party was trying to calm growing criticism in the Jeolla region.
And Kim Young-sam should not complain about being a victim of eavesdropping during the Kim Dae-jung administration. His own administration was guilty as well.
The spy agency’s systemic crimes are being laid bare, but politicians are trying to find their way out, ignoring the substantive issues. The former presidents are giving excuses that neither knew about the illegal operations; that is simply irresponsible. Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam must apologize to the people immediately.