June 04, 2010 12:12
A two-star Army general is in custody on suspicion of leaking military secrets to North Korea. The man is the first active-duty general arrested on spying charges in decades.
A government official on Thursday said the general is "under investigation by the Defense Security Command and the National Intelligence Service. He was arrested on charges of handing military operational plans and field manuals over to the North through a third person for several years."
The inquiry now focuses on whether there are more connected moles working in the military, the official added. He "was regarded as an outstanding officer and was thought to be in line for promotion to Army corps leader."
The general was reportedly recruited by the North during the Roh Moo-hyun administration through a junior officer who was placed on the reserve list in 1997 after he was found to be involved in what became known as "Heukgemseong" case.
The case was one of several campaigns orchestrated by the Agency for National Security Planning, the NIS's predecessor, to engineer the defeat of Kim Dae-jung in the presidential election in 1997.
After being discharged from the active service, the junior officer frequently traveled to North Korea and China on business and is suspected of having delivered military secrets which he received from the general. He is also being interrogated.
"Nobody can rule out that important military secrets about the movement of Navy ships were leaked to the North that led to the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in March," the official said. "We're drastically boosting security alertness inside the military to establish discipline."
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