Missing Intelligence Files Threaten to Scupper Probe

      March 17, 2005 19:26

      It was learned Thursday that important materials related to the disappearance of former Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) director Kim Hyung-wook and the kidnapping of then-dissident former president Kim Dae-jung are no longer at the National Intelligence Service (NIS), leading some to suspect they were destroyed.

      The truth committee looking into suspicious incidents in the national intelligence agency's past said it obtained intelligence documents on the missing KCIA director, who fled to the U.S. in 1973 and engaged in activities opposed to then-president Park Chung-hee, but there are no reports on Kim's movements from right before he arrived in Paris on Oct. 1, 1979. Kim disappeared a few days later on Oct. 7.

      The committee is investigating the possibility that materials may have been intentionally destroyed. It has called in testimony from a number of figures related to the case including Lee Sang-yeol, a former intelligence agent who was deployed to France at the time under cover of an embassy official, but says they are not cooperating.

      The commission also found large holes in the dossier on the kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung which make it hard to get to the truth of the incident. However, The KCIA director at the time, Lee Hu-rak, has admitted involvement in the kidnapping.

      An NIS official said that if the two incidents happened at orders from above, there were unlikely to be many records to start with. He said any trail of documents would have been destroyed at a set point.

      Commission chairman Oh Choong-il said Wednesday not all NIS material pertaining to suspicious episodes were destroyed but neither did all of them survive.

      However, the commission was able to get substantial documentation related to the other incidents it has set aside for priority investigation, including the People's Revolutionary Party incident of 1974, where the Park Chung-hee administration used anti-communist laws to execute and imprison demonstrators, destruction of KAL 858 in 1987, the South Korean Workers Party incident of 1992, the 1967 kidnapping of dissidents from Germany and extortion involving the Jeongsu Scholarship Fund in 1962 where a businessman was forced to cede a foundation to Park Chung-hee government.

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