A sheer fallacyThe Blue House is in disarray as a former member of its special inspection team under Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk has continued to leak the confidential engagements of the now-disbanded inspection team. He claimed that his team kept tabs on a son of a former prime minister and wrote up reports on senior government officials’ cryptocurrency investments as well as private enterprise activities. He argued that their surveillance of civilians was an order given from a higher level in the Blue House and that the investigators were encouraged to dig up controversial information to get promotions.
The Blue House said that the special spy team was assigned with the task of aiding the government to come up measures to deal with the craze over cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, it was admitting that it condoned spying on civilians, which is illegal. The presidential office denied that it gave orders and that it had any motives to use the information for political purposes. It strongly refuted the claim that it had committed the crime of spying on civilians because it did not target specific figures for being against the government. Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom advocated the investigation of cryptocurrency engagement as a basic fact-finding procedure to work out a government policy. “How can a government come up with a policy if fact-finding is deemed spying on civilians?” he retorted.
But his explanation is hardly convincing. A former defense intelligence officer, a three-star general, killed himself while being investigated by prosecutors for collecting information on the bereaved families of the Sewol ferry tragedy in 2014 under the Park Geun-hye administration.
The contradictory and hurried response from the Blue House only builds up public suspicion. The Blue House first accused the whistle blower for lying. Now, it defends some of the current administration’s surveillance on civilians as if it was a procedure to help the government draw up policies. Few people would buy its explanation or the spokesman’s insistence that the Moon administration would never dream of spying on civilians.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 19, Page 31