NIS workers accused of intervening in politics

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NIS workers accused of intervening in politics

Two National Intelligence Service workers were accused of violating the law governing the main spy agency by intervening in domestic politics ahead of the December presidential election, while the police cleared them of charges of election law violation.

The Suseo Police Precinct in Seoul yesterday announced its probe into the alleged election law violation of the National Intelligence Service workers.

A 29-year-old female worker identified as Kim and another 39-year-old NIS worker identified as Lee were investigated on charges of posting political comments on the Internet to influence the presidential election.

The main opposition Democratic United Party said the NIS operated a systemic cyberspace campaign to damage candidate Moon Jae-in while helping then-Saenuri Party contender Park Geun-hye.

According to the police, the probe showed that the two made political postings in violation of the law governing the intelligence agency, which requires the NIS to remain politically neutral.

The police, however, said they found no evidence to press election law violation charges against them.

The police said they sent the case to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office to proceed with indictments.

The police also asked the prosecution to indict a 42-year-old man, who is not a member of the NIS, as an accomplice of the two spy agency workers.

The police, however, said they were not able to fully investigate the psychological affairs director of the NIS, although the DUP accused him of ordering efforts to influence the presidential election.

The official refused to cooperate with the police questioning and the police asked the prosecution to pick up the probe.

The investigation was prompted on the eve of the presidential election, when dozens of DUP officials camped out in the hallway outside Kim’s apartment in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul on Dec. 11, 2012, accusing her of posting comments critical of the party’s presidential candidate.

While the NIS denied that it tried to manipulate public opinion to influence the election, the DUP asked the police to investigate Kim.

Last month, the National Assembly agreed to conduct a parliamentary investigation into the case, while the police continued the probe by summoning other suspects.

The DUP yesterday issued an angry statement.

“The police made the most political conclusion to please the administration,” said Park Yong-jin, DUP spokesman. “The police conclusion is like a decision to press only trespass charges against an armed robber.”

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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