The Blue House must tell the truth (kor)

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The Blue House must tell the truth (kor)

The Blue House is stumbling over the scandal of an online opinion manipulation campaign led by former registered members of the ruling Democratic Party (DP). It explained that Baek Won-woo, presidential secretary for civil affairs, met with a candidate for a senior government position at the recommendation of a blogger who went by the alias Druking.

Druking was accused of pressing DP Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo, a close aide of President Moon Jae-in, for senior public jobs. But the Blue House said that Baek met him not “because of a possible recruitment, but to check out the person before reporting to authorities for illicit demands.”

The Blue House first said it heard nothing about the blogger’s demands for senior public offices to reward his organization’s contribution to Moon’s election victory. Later, it admitted the secretary of civil affairs met the recommended candidate. Now, it claims the purpose of the meeting was to verify the threat. But Representative Kim said he notified the Blue House of advances made by the blogger and that he explained to the suspicious candidate why the blogger’s demand was turned down.

The lawmaker, who had been Moon’s campaign spokesman, has been making contradicting statements. In the first press conference, Representative Kim said he was approached by the blogger asking for a position in the new administration. The demands were shot down, which he claimed was the end of the story. Then in the second briefing, Kim said he handed over the credentials of the lawyer recommended by the blogger to the Blue House. Now, he has made a comment with the Blue House that it had not been a favor for an appointment.

Whatever it was, Baek said he reported his meeting with the candidate to his direct boss, Cho Kuk, the senior secretary for civil affairs. If Baek had met the person under threat, the Blue House would have been fully aware of the relationship between the lawmaker and the ringleader of a group of online activists, as well as the essence of his threats.

It would have judged whether the online campaign was a private scheme by the blogger or organized crime. Yet, the Blue House hoped to weasel its way out of the scandal. Regardless of the investigation by law enforcement authorities, the Blue House must come clear about the affair first.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 18, Page 30

청와대가 어제 드루킹 의혹과 관련해 또다시 말을 바꿨다. 김경수 더불어민주당 의원을 협박한 드루킹의 추천 인사를 백원우 민정비서관이 만난 것과 관련, “추천해서 만난 게 아니라 ‘문제가 있다’고 일종의 신고를 해서 만난 것”이라고 주장했다. 인사 검증 차원에서 만난 게 아니란 뜻인데, 문제는 청와대 해명이 시시각각 바뀌고 있어 도대체 무엇이 진실인지 더 알기 어렵게 됐다는 사실이다.
청와대는 전날 오전만 해도 “드루킹의 인사 청탁 의혹에 대해 알지 못한다”고 했다가 오후엔 “드루킹이 추천한 인사를 민정비서관이 청와대 연풍문 부근에서 만났다”고 새로운 입장을 내놨다. 그러다 이젠 ‘협박 신고를 받고 만났다’고 해명한 것이다. 하지만 김경수 의원은 드루킹의 인사 청탁을 청와대에 전달하고, 안 된 이유를 설명까지 해줬다고 했다.
게다가 김 의원 역시 기자회견 때마다 설명이 달라 의심을 키우고 있다. 첫 번째 회견에선 "김씨가 무리한 인사 관련 요구를 했지만 청탁이 뜻대로 받아들여지지 않자 그렇게 끝난 일"이라고 했다. 두 번째엔 "김 씨가 추천한 변호사의 이력서를 청와대에 전달했다"고 밝히더니 이젠 청와대와 함께 "인사 청탁이 아니다"고 하고 있다. 인사 면접과 인사 협박에 따른 조사라는 주장이 여기저기서 부딪치고 있다.
어느 쪽이든 백 비서관은 조국 민정수석에게 면담 사실을 보고했다고 했다. 협박 신고를 받고 만났다면 청와대는 김 의원과 댓글 주모자가 도대체 어떤 관계였는지, 드루킹의 협박은 뭐였는지에 대한 경위와 진실을 알고 있을 것이다. 최소한 드루킹의 개인 일탈인지, 정권 차원의 게이트인지 정도는 판단했을 게 분명하다. 그럼에도 사건 초기엔 대충 눙치고 넘어가려 했다. 그런 태도가 의혹을 키우고 있다. 검경 수사와 별도로 이젠 청와대가 밝혀야 한다.
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