NIS is Park’s main headacheThe legitimacy of the government has been under a cloud for most of the year after allegations right before the presidential election in December 2013 that agents of the National Intelligence Service, the country’s top spy agency, conducted an online smear campaign to help Park Geun-hye and tarnish the reputation of her challenger, Moon Jae-in.
While those allegations were being investigated rigorously by Prosecutor-General Chae Dong-wook, a newspaper in September printed a story alleging that Chae had a love child living in Seoul, which led to his resignation. The Blue House was suspected of trying to destroy Chae, and one of its staffers was later found to have been involved in getting the family history records of the allegedly illegitimate child.
Things got even worse in October when it was revealed that the Army’s Cyber Warfare Command conducted a similar online smear campaign against Moon.
In November, the prosecution finally announced the results of its investigation, admitting that as many as 1.21 million messages were posted on Twitter by NIS staff during the campaign, demolishing the government’s claim that rogue agents were responsible. Park’s defense was that she was not in charge of the government when the dirty tricks took place, but her government’s stonewalling of the case led to the National Assembly being largely paralyzed for the year.