SNS sleuths, Web crawlers track down mole in UPP

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SNS sleuths, Web crawlers track down mole in UPP

As the controversy around an alleged insurrection plan by members of the Unified Progressive Party dominates the media, the online community believes it has pinpointed the man who ratted out his alleged coconspirators.

Netizens yesterday went on a hunt for the mole at a May 12 meeting of the so-called Revolutionary Organization (RO), a faction within the UPP that was ostensibly an alpine hiking club. They believe an informant led to the National Intelligence Service getting a transcript of the meeting, which has gone public.

Internet users not only revealed the name of a UPP member they believed was the informer, retweeting it hundreds of times, but his photo also ricocheted around the Web.

On Daum’s Agora forum under the topic heading, “Wanted immediately, photo of NIS agent related to the insurrection plot,” a post spun the tale of a UPP member surnamed Lee who squandered his family fortune away by gambling and was inspired by the NIS’s offer of a “large sum of money” to record the May 12 meeting of the Revolutionary Organization in Mapo District, western Seoul.

The post revealed the full name of a member of the Democratic Labor Party, a predecessor of the UPP, who ran for National Assembly from Gwonseon District in Suwon in the 2008 general elections. It called the man “the key to resolving the Lee Seok-ki crisis.”

Lee Seok-ki is the UPP representative accused of fomenting a violent insurrection at the May 12 meeting in conjunction with North Korea.

The post on Daum continued sarcastically, “If Lee Seok-ki is a spy who is planning an insurrection plot to destroy important facilities of the country, [the informant] should be honorably rewarded and lauded as a hero.”

On Sunday, the UPP said an informant has been “paid a large amount of money” by the nation’s spy agency and “has been active as a party member in Suwon for at least several months and at most several years.”

The NIS informant, the UPP said, attended the May 12 meeting and was the source of the transcript of the meeting obtained by prosecutors.

An arrest warrant for Representative Lee submitted to the National Assembly yesterday said, “A lead provided by an RO member” was how officials were clued into the case, but the informant’s name was not revealed.

The document said, “The informant said the RO was formed in 2004. He is a key member that has participated until recently.”

Analyst warned that a witch hunt could arise over the informant.

“The link between Lee and the informant has not yet been proven,” said Kim Hyung-joon, a politics and diplomacy professor at Myongji University. “In such a situation, revealing information about the informant and criticizing him is another case of the public going after an individual in an social networking service witch hunt.”

Messages on the Internet said the informant allegedly escaped to New Zealand just before prosecutors raided Lee Seok-ki and other figures accused of being linked to the insurrection.


BY LEE SEUNG-HO, SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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