Opposition urges special counsel for leak scandal

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Opposition urges special counsel for leak scandal

The main opposition party’s interim chairman demanded Wednesday that an independent counsel be established to investigate the fact disclosed in the case surrounding a leaked Blue House internal report that has mired the presidential office in controversy.

“After a behind-the-scenes power struggle at the Blue House took place, how come no one has taken responsibility? It’s total nonsense,” Moon Hee-sang, the provisional leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), said during a meeting with the party’s emergency committee. “A special investigation should thoroughly investigate the case and those who are responsible should be held accountable.”

His remarks come a day after Yoon Doo-hyun, the senior presidential secretary for public relations, placed blame for the scandal stemming from the leak of confidential documents on “a few people with ulterior motives.”

Rep. Moon, a five-term politician, noted that the system in which a prosecutor is appointed for an independent counsel originated in the United States to investigate individuals who held or formerly held certain top positions and curb the president’s influence. “How could the current legal system, under which the prosecution is practically controlled by the Blue House, sternly deal with a case involving the president and her aides?” he said.

On Monday, the prosecution concluded after a month-long probe that the leaked report had been based on rumors collected by Park Gwan-cheon, a senior police officer formerly seconded to the Office of Secretary for Civil Service Discipline at the Blue House.

According to the prosecution, Park drew up the document on the orders of Cho Eung-cheon, the former presidential secretary for civil service discipline and his superior at the time.

The confidential report, which was quoted in an article on Nov. 28 by the local Segye Ilbo, alleged that Chung Yoon-hoi, a former aide to President Park Geun-hye during her days as a lawmaker, has wielded considerable influence, discussing state affairs with a tight inner circle that includes three of the president’s secretaries.

A minority group within the ruling Saenuri Party also raised issue with the Blue House’s handling of the case.

During the party’s supreme council meeting, Rep. Lee Jae-oh said that the presidential office should take bold action to replace its staff. “An imminent reshuffle must be carried out,” he said. “That shows the Blue House trusts the people.” 

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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