Whom Is the NIS Trying to Fool?

      May 27, 2005 22:43

      A Truth Committee of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) probing murky episodes in the service’s past has set out to lay to rest, so to speak, a mystery that won’t go away, namely what happened to former Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) Director Kim Hyung-wook. All we know for certain is that he disappeared in the days of president Park Chung-hee.

      The Truth Committee has now published an interim report, from which we learn that KCIA operatives based in Paris, on orders of Kim’s successor as KCIA chief, and a couple of East European gorillas they hired for US$100,000, took the former spymaster into the woods outside Paris and shot him with a silenced pistol. Testimony to that effect is said to have come from the KCIA’s man in Paris at the time, Shin Hyeon-jin, who took part in the operation. But the report is full of blind spots.

      To begin with, the report says the killers covered Kim’s body with fallen leaves before fleeing the scene. Now, these woods where Kim was murdered were said to be 50 meters off a suburban road. It is hard to swallow, then, that nobody should have come across the spot for 26 years. Where on Earth have Kim's remains gone?

      Shin, in any case, couldn’t remember where the woods are, the committee reveals. The target of the assassination he carried out was the former head of his organization, but Shin can’t remember where he did the deed. That is nonsense. Nor was the committee able to come up with material evidence because the killers “lost” the silenced pistol.

      Of the committee’s 10 civilian members, none apparently met Shin. The civilian members are put there to monitor the committee so that the NIS, which is after all the likely guilty party in these murky episodes, cannot fabricate investigation results that suit it. And these civilian members simply rubber-stamped what the NIS officials told them of their investigations of their former colleagues and asked for no further proof.

      What was the hurry? What urgency prompted the committee to make these slipshod investigation results public? If inquiries into the agency’s dark past end up giving rise to more suspicions and conspiracy theories, we will have to set up another truth committee to investigate the Truth Committee.
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