Parties Collide over Extent of 2012 Smear Campaign Probe

Write : 2017-11-13 13:34:22 Update : 2017-11-13 13:54:05

Parties Collide over Extent of 2012 Smear Campaign Probe

Anchor: It is seeming more likely that former President Lee Myung-bak will be subject to the prosecution's investigation into government agencies' alleged online smear campaign operations before the 2012 presidential election. Lee Myung-bak on Sunday claimed his innocence, arguing that the incumbent administration's anti-corruption probe into previous governments is only a political vendetta. With Lee's former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin both being held under state custody, political parties are mired in a debate on whether the anti-corruption drive is crossing the line. 
Kim Bum-soo has wrapped up the recent developments.
 
Report: Former President Lee Myung-bak is suspected of being involved in the military cyber command's campaign to sway public opinion on online thread debates before the 2012 general and presidential elections.
 
Former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is now under state custody on allegations of commanding the smear campaign, which he said was to prevent North Korean cyber operations from affecting South Korean political sentiment. 
 
Before his departure for a lecture in Bahrain on Sunday, Lee denied allegations that he was behind the campaign. 
 
[Sound bite: Former President Lee Myung-bak (Korean)]
"Do not ask me nonsense questions. That's nonsense."
 
Speaking to reporters, the former president argued that the Moon Jae-in administration only wants a "political vendetta" under the disguise of clearing up deep-rooted corrupt practices.  
 
[Sound bite: Former President Lee Myung-bak (Korean)]
"Is this reform? I am beginning to suspect that this is only taking out anger or a political vendetta... "
"This is not helpful when South Korea needs to seize opportunities in the global economic boom."
 
Lee's former spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said that the government is risking national security, citing that the court only recognized point-45 percent of the cyber command's thread replies as problematic.
 
But political meddling could have been much wider as the National Intelligence Service is also blamed for intervening to help the election of now-impeached ex-president Park Geun-hye. 
 
Presidential Spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a text message to Blue House correspondents that the anti-corruption drive is not intended to punish individuals but to fix an unfair social structure which is slanted in favor of the privileged. 
 
The ruling Democratic Party on Monday urged the prosecution to immediately summon Lee for questioning. At the party's supreme council meeting, Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae demanded an apology from Lee.
 
But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said that the government's anti-corruption drive will come to haunt the ruling camp and the people will end up turning their backs on the ruling party.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News. 

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