[EDITORIALS]Clarify who told and whyUri Party lawmaker Choi Jae-chun’s recent exposures of classified documents regarding the “strategic flexibility” of U.S. troops stationed here has created much ado. The disclosed minutes of a meeting of the National Security Council are classified as state secrets. Needless to say, secrets on foreign policy are included in those memos.
It’s not the first time that state secrets have been disclosed by lawmakers. Kim Seung-kyu, the head of the National Intelligence Service said in a briefing on Thursday to the intelligence committee of the National Assembly that in 2004 there were 31 such cases.
Nevertheless, what Mr. Choi did is different from past disclosures. In the past, disclosures were based on briefings given by the Defense and Unification Ministries or contents that were legally obtained. This time, the full record of a council meeting was disclosed. Since the Blue House said that it has not officially handed over the documents, there was something wrong with the management of the documents.
Belatedly, the Blue House said it would conduct an internal investigation on how the documents were leaked. What lies at the heart of the matter is why classified documents containing foreign policy secrets continue to be disclosed. The agreement reached between the United States and South Korea on the strategic flexibility, considering the situation surrounding Korea, is not entirely satisfying but it can be said that the agreement reflects the positions of both sides in a balanced way.
There must be a purpose in trying to create controversy, in the form of disclosures, over an issue that is already finalized. This is why arguments are coming out that this whole scheme is devised by the strong leftist group in the government in an attempt to implement a strategy aiming to reverse the deal.
Some even suggest that there is an internal power struggle going on. There is talk that the incident is an ideological struggle between Lee Jong-seok, a former senior official at the National Security Council and now slated to become unification minister, and his opposing camp. If a sensitive foreign policy and security issue has been used in a power struggle between the hawks and the moderates inside the Blue House, this is a serious situation. The administration is responsible for the exposure of discord and conflict among officials in charge of foreign policy and security issues that have been repeated since its inauguration. The Blue House must resolve the anxiety and doubts of the people.