Clear up all the suspicionSuspicions over the Blue House’s involvement in the illegal surveillance of a civilian who was critical of President Lee Myung-bak continues to grow. The fiasco, which began with a low-level official at the Prime Minister’s Office, has entangled a Blue House official, a former secretary to the president and finally President Lee himself. The prosecution’s investigation into the case now appears to have reached its climax.
A special investigation team of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday questioned Choi Jong-seok, a former staffer at the Office of the Senior Secretary to the President for Employment and Social Welfare who allegedly ordered Jang Jin-su - a former low-level official at the Civil Service Ethics Division of the Prime Minister’s Office - to destroy relevant evidence. Jang claimed he had received money to cover up the Blue House illegal surveillance case.
The special investigation team yesterday also questioned Lee In-kyu - former head of the Civil Service Ethics Division of the Prime Minister’s Office - who allegedly orchestrated the illegal surveillance of Kim Jong-ik, head of KB Hanmaum, who posted a message critical of President Lee on his blog. Lee Young-ho, the president’s former secretary of labor affairs, is also being summoned by the prosecution today.
What we really worry about, however, is the possibility that the prosecution’s investigation leads to nowhere because the prosecution will most likely wrap up the case by confirming that the order to destroy the evidence came from Jang or his direct superior.
The prosecution should think about what caused a reinvestigation of the case. In a 2010 investigation, prosecutors were criticized for having given Lee In-kyu enough time to destroy the evidence. Choi Jong-seok was also investigated at a hotel only to be cleared of all suspicion. After that, the prosecution launched a reinvestigation of the case, pressured by Jang, who said, “At the time, Choi told me that the presidential secretariat on civil affairs had struck a deal with the prosecution not to find fault with the destruction of evidence.”
We proposed to finish the case by introducing a special prosecutor. One can hardly expect the prosecution to conduct a thorough investigation when the former Blue House secretary for civil affairs is now the minister of justice. The prosecution must clear all the suspicion surrounding the case. If not, the people will not believe what it says, no matter what.