Back To Top

Blue House document disclosure evolves into legal dispute

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party on Wednesday filed a complaint against Blue House officials for leaking presidential records of the previous administration, claiming they broke a law banning the documents’ public disclosure for 30 years.

The complaint requests the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to investigate presidential spokesperson Park Soo-hyun and others involved in two live press briefings held on the discoveries, in two batches, and the content of the dossiers, purportedly complied during the Park Geun-hye administration. 

Presidential spokesperson Park Soo-hyun (Yonhap)
Presidential spokesperson Park Soo-hyun (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae revealed on Friday and Monday that it has found documents, totaling over 1,600, that appear to contain information related to former President Park’s scandal, which led to her impeachment and is now being dealt with in a criminal trial.

“Presidential spokesperson Park Soo-hyun on Friday and Monday (briefings) opened what handwritten memos contained,” the conservative Liberty Korea Party claimed in a press statement, calling for a prosecutorial investigation.

“Park, colluding with unknown presidential officials, submitted the approximately 1,660 copies of the documents to special prosecutor (Park Young-soo who investigated the former president’s scandal).”

Their actions were in violation of the Management of Presidential Archives Act, which prohibits concealing or divulging of presidential records without permission, the party claimed. A violation is punishable by a seven year imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won ($17,800).

Announcing the discoveries, Cheong Wa Dae claimed that the documents were not classified as records subject to the 30-year secrecy rule and that they contain information that could affect the ongoing trial.

Not all presidential records are subject to the non-disclosure rule. Documents are classified into three categories and those classified as “regular” can be made public.

Chung Woo-taik, the floor leader of Liberty Korea Party, countered the presidential office’s claim.

“Cheong Wa Dae claims they are not protected by the presidential record management law, but who determines whether a document is subject to the law or now. Certainly, it should not be those who are now occupying the Blue House,” he said.

Its chief Hong Joon-pyo called the act a political vendetta against the previous administration.

“The political retaliation (by the incumbent upon the former president) that has been repeating every five years under the five-year term presidency starts now,” he said.

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea expressed regret over the opposition’s leakage claim.

“The core of the problem is that the documents may contain the truth about the corruption scandal and that Cheong Wa Dae (of former President Park) was behind them at the time. It is regretful that the opposition is misleading it as only a mere leakage issue,” the party chief Rep. Choo Mi-ae said in the party meeting on Wednesday.

The Presidential Archive under the National Archives of Korea announced in May the completion of the reception of some 11.06 million records created by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and other agencies.

By Jo He-rim (