Truth will end stormKim Yong-cheol, a former Samsung lawyer, claimed that Kim Sung-ho, the National Intelligence Service chief-designate, and Lee Jong-chan, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, received bribes from his former employer, stirring up controversy over the launch of the new administration. The accused said the charges were groundless, and they say they will file legal action against Kim Yong-cheol.
Believing the officials’ denials, the Blue House spokesman demanded that Kim and the Catholic Priests Association for Justice produce evidence. The United Democratic Party urged a thorough investigation, while the Democratic Labor Party demanded that the candidates step down.
What will end this political storm is the truth. Kim must submit evidence to the independent counsel on the Samsung corruption scandal. The two officials can also file defamation suits against Kim and the priests’ group to lay bare the truth through the prosecutors’ investigation.
Such methods, however, will take a long time. The controversy will grow worse and the wound of the new government will deepen. At this point, the fastest way to approach the truth is the National Assembly’s confirmation hearing. The intelligence committee of the legislature has today scheduled a confirmation hearing for NIS chief-designate, Kim Sung-ho. However, the key issue ― who will testify at the hearing ― remains to be resolved.
Kim Sung-ho as well as the United Democrats demanded that Kim Yong-cheol testify. It is, however, unclear if Kim Yong-cheol will appear at the hearing. If he doesn’t, the chaos will not end.
The National Assembly must compel him to testify, to produce evidence to back his charges and answer lawmakers’ questions. Kim Sung-ho’s confirmation hearing should take place before March 23, so the National Assembly has enough time to summon Kim.
The National Assembly must not rush to hold the hearing. The Catholic Priests Association for Justice should persuade him to cooperate. Kim Yong-cheol should also take responsibility for what he started.
By watching him testify and answer lawmakers’ questions, the nation will learn the truth. If his argument is true, the NIS chief-designate and the presidential aide for anti-corruption must step down.
If his arguments are false, he and the Catholic Priests Association for Justice must assume responsibility.
That is the power of the National Assembly hearing.