Only the truth will prevailCircumstantial evidence has emerged that an administrative official at the Blue House was involved in leaking information about an alleged out-of-wedlock son of former prosecutor-general Chae Dong-wook. Chae resigned two months ago amid friction between him and the minister of justice over the prosecution’s all-out investigation into the National Intelligence Service and its alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election. There had been suspicions of the government’s involvement in the leak of scandalous information about Chae’s private life. If that is proven, the Park Geun-hye administration can hardly avoid the growing public criticism that state organizations were methodically engaged in ousting Chae because of his thorough pursuit of justice in the top spy agency’s alleged intervention in the election.
The prosecution has obtained testimony that the Blue House official requested the head of the administrative support bureau of Seocho District, where Chae’s alleged son and his birth mother lived, to look up the son’s family history. The official, surnamed Cho, has been working for the presidential secretary for administration. According to the testimony, Cho asked the head of the administrative bureau of Seocho District to confirm if the son’s name and resident registration number are correct after sending text messages to him on June 11. Cho strongly denied the allegation. The prosecution is considering summoning Cho for further investigation along with efforts to restore the text messages in question.
But the question is why Cho, who’s been managing facilities of the Blue House under the presidential secretary for administration, Lee Jae-man, a core member of President Park’s inner circle, got involved in leaking private information totally unrelated to his job. The suspicion is that Cho requested the Seocho district bureau chief to affirm the veracity of the information about the son’s family relations. The suspicion grows even bigger when considering the sensitive timing of the confirmation request, which fell on June 11, only three days before the prosecution indicted former NIS head Won Sei-hoon on charges of violating the law on fair elections. At the time, the prosecution and the ministry of justice were squabbling over whether to arrest Won and whether to apply the election law.
If government agencies were really engaged in an illegal inquiry about - and leakage of - personal information of an opponent, it constitutes a brazen infringement on human rights. Now the suspicion grows bigger over the possibility that the Blue House was behind it from the outset. The prosecution must get to the bottom of the case, and the Blue House must tell the truth instead of taking a defensive posture. Only the truth can convince the public.