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Blue House inspection team gets new manual to prevent mishaps

Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk said Thursday his office has come up with a manual on digital forensics data after a spat with an investigator under his supervision who leaked confidential information and is now under probe for alleged professional misconduct.

Cho said in a press release that his office established operational rules of the inspection team and guidelines on collection, analysis and management of digital data.

Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk (Yonhap)
Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk (Yonhap)

The head of the inspection team will educate his staff about the rules on a regular basis, and frequently check on their activities to prevent any case of power abuse, Cho said.

The senior secretary noted in the press release that a hotline had been set up at President Moon Jae-in’s instruction in June to receive reports on overbearing actions by Cheong Wa Dae staff.

“(The inspection team) will focus on bribery, leaks of state secrets, irregularities in hiring and personnel management, embezzlement, giving preferential treatment by awarding building contracts and sex scandals,” Cho said.

“There will be zero tolerance on any serious irregularities found.”

Kim Tae-woo, an investigator who previously worked on the Blue House special inspection team, told media the team spied on civilians and politicians and covered up irregularities by those around President Moon.

After announcing the inspection team would include people from government agencies other than the prosecution and police, Cho’s office late last month named Park Wan-ki, former official of the Board of Audit and Inspection, as the head of the team and has been reviewing various candidates recommended by the BAI, the National Tax Service, prosecution and police.

“Since the launch of the incumbent administration, (the team) has followed due process in conducting inspections, and there were no illegal acts such as spying on civilians. (The team) has never used any coercive means,” Cho said.

Even after Kim’s claims were made public, the office chose to handle it through law and order despite the political burden, he said.

Kim returned to his original post at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in November on allegations he sought to pull strings in a police probe into a corruption case involving an acquaintance.

Kim has insisted he was removed from the Blue House post because he went after people close to President Moon, such as the current ambassador to Russia.

By Kim So-hyun (