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Parties clash over military’s alleged election interference
Published : Oct 16, 2013 - 20:01
Updated : Oct 16, 2013 - 20:01
Political bickering over the cyber warfare command’s alleged election interference escalated Wednesday as the main opposition Democratic Party called for a thorough investigation and the dismissal of its chief.

The ruling Saenuri Party downplayed the scandal, saying the “unconfirmed” allegations should not be exaggerated and politicized pending the Defense Ministry’s ongoing probe into the case.

During a parliamentary audit of the government Tuesday, the allegation emerged that three civilians in the command posted about 300 election-related messages last year ― including some questioning the qualifications of Rep. Moon Jae-in, the then opposition presidential candidate ― on Twitter and blogs.

DP leader Kim Han-gil said that the case was “unacceptable” and seriously violated the military’s principle of political neutrality.

“This is not a matter that can be resolved through the military’s internal investigation. The law enforcement authorities should launch a separate probe into it,” Kim said during a meeting of senior DP members.

His party also claimed that hundreds of messages the cyber command agents posted had suddenly been deleted. It called for measures to prevent any attempt to destroy evidence. The party also demanded cyber command head Ok Do-gyeong step down.

The Saenuri Party warned against any politicking on the issue, urging the DP to focus on its role of keeping the government in check instead of using the case as part of its offensive against the ruling bloc.

“The DP, in some sense, is making the case a political issue only based on suspicions and is triggering social conflict,” Saenuri floor spokesperson Kim Tae-heum told media. “It is a long way away from its original role of keeping the government in check and addressing any policy-related errors.”

In a meeting with reporters, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin reiterated that the military command operated under the principle of political neutrality.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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