[EDITORIALS]Ethics at the Blue HousePresidential secretaries have important duties: to evaluate and analyze affairs of the country and the administration and report to the president. They have a decisive influence on the perceptions and decisions of the president. They must be more strict about their integrity than any other government officials. But recently, presidential secretaries have revealed a serious lack of morality. Five family members of a presidential secretary are allegedly involved in a scam at the JU Network. They have sold products worth 1.2 billion won, or $1.3 million, and received 1 billion won in fees. That has raised suspicions that the money was a bribe. The wife of the secretary had leased and sold a studio to a person in charge of slush funds of the JU Network. The secretary’s brother’s wife had the title of CEO at a company related to the JU Network.
Of course, we should wait until these suspicions have been cleared up. But what are the duties of a presidential secretary for inspections? The secretary should work together with other government inspection bodies, such as the prosecution and the National Intelligence Service. He can diminish the seriousness of a scandal or hide it at his will. He can leak confidential intelligence as well.
So, as a government official, he should make it clear why such suspicions have arisen and then step down.
Since late last year, the National Intelligence Service has made three reports and in May, a governing party lawmaker publicized the scandal. But the secretary ignored those moves, and he now says he did not know his family members had been involved. He had not read the reports of the intelligence agency, he says. He is either immoral or incompetent.
Reports sent to North Korea documented by Jang Min-ho, an alleged spy for the North, mentioned the name of a presidential secretary a few times. The secretary says he has never met the people involved in the espionage scandal and is blaming the media. Whether he delivered information directly or not, leaking confidential information to people who can approach those spies is enough to raise suspicions. Thus, he should reflect on his behavior and remarks, instead of blaming others.
The country’s sensitive secrets related to its diplomacy and security have been leaked many times by political circles, seriously damaging relationships with allies. It is worrisome that state affairs and national security are in the hands of this kind of person.