What Moon failed to mentionLaw enforcement and supervisory authorities have not done anything that could have disappointed the people as in the past under this administration, President Moon Jae-in said with conviction during his New Year’s press conference. His comment could at the same time mean that the authority could have made mistakes, but ones that are not as grave as those of the past.
It is true there has not been a major corruption cases stemming from the so-called authorities — the prosecution, police, intelligence agency and tax agency — under the Moon administration. But still there have been cases of overstretch or questionable use of power. The police dragged their feet on the so-called Druking case, which involved online opinion rigging in favor of Moon, and the administration led an over-aggressive crackdown on so-called wrongdoers from the past conservative governments by the prosecution. There has been grumbling among the people about how Korea is any different under the liberal government. Their disappointment may not have been understood by the president. High expectations can bring about plenty of disillusionment.
When selective enforcement extends to the Blue House and government, the president could further lose connection with reality. Kim Tae-woo, a former investigator under the Blue House special inspection team, and Shin Jae-min, a former Finance Ministry official, exposed the administration’s overreach. Their whistle-blowing unleashed a string of suspicions about the Blue House’s surveillance of civilians and meddling in appointments at public enterprises as well as private companies. Regardless of the motives of the whistle-blowers, the president should have probed the matter to prevent it from recurring.
Moon referred to the cases as minor incidents from officials who acted due to their own personal perspectives. The public is disappointed by his casual response. Moon proposed to institutionalize reforms for law enforcement authorities by installing a bureau with the authority to investigate corruption among public employees, revise the national intelligence service act and divide the investigative powers between the prosecution and police. The promises made by the president during his campaign have been put off due to crackdown on past ills. Little was revealed to the public and discussed at the National Assembly. The bills proposing changes have some contentious details. The legislature must scrutinize every detail before making laws. The legislature requires cooperation from the opposition, but given the current partisan strife, it will be difficult for it to see the light anytime soon.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 11, Page 30