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Cheong Wa Dae says Roh administration concealed surveillance

Cheong Wa Dae made new claims that the Roh Moo-hyun administration conducted extensive surveillance and destroyed the evidence before the handover of power in 2008.

According to reports citing an unnamed high-level official within the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae officials have found that evidence of surveillance was systematically destroyed before the current administration took over.

“Looking into the documents compiled by the investigation division, there is evidence that officials of the office systematically destroyed surveillance reports,” the high-level Cheong Wa Dae official was quoted as saying in the local media.

The office of the investigation division is the branch of the Prime Minister’s Office that was allegedly in charge of surveillance activities under the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

“There is quite a bit of testimony that people were placed under surveillance under the previous administration, but there are no documents. This can raise suspicion that the previous administration destroyed evidence.”

The Cheong Wa Dae official also claimed that the Roh Moo-hyun administration only handed over documents concerning everyday duties and those compiled under the Kim Dae-jung administration to the National Archives despite regulations that civil servant inspection reports need to be preserved for a specified length of time.

The main opposition Democratic United Party, most of whose members supported the late President Roh Moo-hyun, dismissed the claims saying they were not “worth responding to.”

While Cheong Wa Dae continues to make announcements implicating the previous administration in illegal surveillance, Rep. Lee Seok-hyun of the Democratic United Party claimed that officials of the current government are in possession of more related documents.

According to Lee, Senior police inspector Lee Ki-young has hidden six boxes full of documents related to the current administration’s surveillance scheme at his brother’s home. The police officer had worked for the ethics division of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for conducting the surveillance activities on civilians.

In response, Rep. Cho Yoon-sun of the Saenuri Party said the opposition party should agree to open a special counsel investigation.

“There is no way to know what is illegal and legal,” Cho said.

“If (the opposition) they are confident that the previous administration’s activities were legal, launching a special counsel investigation should be agreed to.”

On Monday, the Saenuri Party called for a special counsel investigation into both the current and previous administrations’ surveillance activities. The DUP, however, rejected the suggestion saying that the ruling party was trying to buy time with a special investigation, which would put on hold the prosecutors’ ongoing investigations into the scandal.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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