A disappointing investigationThe police have sent to the prosecution the surveillance case of two agents of the National Intelligence Service who are under suspicion of intervening in the December presidential election. However, the police failed to clear the suspicions over the intelligence agency’s systematic intervention in the election to help the ruling party’s presidential candidate Park Geun-hye win the race. As it turns out, the police investigation cannot avoid the harsh criticism that it had no intention to dig it up from the beginning.
The police accused the two suspects, including a 29-year-old low-ranking officer surnamed Kim, on charges of violating the NIS law, which strictly bars its agents from engaging in any type of political activity. The police explained that though the pair of them posted about 100 messages aimed at attacking an opposition candidate and party from last August to shortly before the Dec. 19 election, it does not constitute a violation of the official election law. The police instead recommended that the prosecution suspend an indictment of the head of the psychology affairs bureau who is also under suspicion. The policy even said that investigators could not find out if the director had given orders to his subordinates because he refused to accept the police’s investigation request.
The results of the police investigation are utterly disappointing. We can hardly accept the logic that an act of posting vicious slander targeted at the opposition party on cyberspace is not a violation of the election law. The police announcement that the prosecution also needs to investigate the case as the statute of limitations expires on June 19 shows the police didn’t put forth enough effort. The police have been under fire for their investigation for the last four months since the main opposition Democratic United Party accused the agent surnamed Kim last December.
The ball is in the prosecution’s court now. Chae Dong-wook, the new prosecutor general, has ordered the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to quickly and thoroughly examine the case. The prosecution has also organized a special investigation team to probe various allegations against former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon. A state intelligence agency should not intervene in politics. We urge the prosecution to reinvestigate the case without political consideration.