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The Blue House must tell the truth

Apr 19,2018
The Blue House is stumbling over the scandal of an online opinion manipulation campaign led by former registered members of the ruling Democratic Party (DP). It explained that Baek Won-woo, presidential secretary for civil affairs, met with a candidate for a senior government position at the recommendation of a blogger who went by the alias Druking.

Druking was accused of pressing DP Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo, a close aide of President Moon Jae-in, for senior public jobs. But the Blue House said that Baek met him not “because of a possible recruitment, but to check out the person before reporting to authorities for illicit demands.”

The Blue House first said it heard nothing about the blogger’s demands for senior public offices to reward his organization’s contribution to Moon’s election victory. Later, it admitted the secretary of civil affairs met the recommended candidate. Now, it claims the purpose of the meeting was to verify the threat. But Representative Kim said he notified the Blue House of advances made by the blogger and that he explained to the suspicious candidate why the blogger’s demand was turned down.

The lawmaker, who had been Moon’s campaign spokesman, has been making contradicting statements. In the first press conference, Representative Kim said he was approached by the blogger asking for a position in the new administration. The demands were shot down, which he claimed was the end of the story. Then in the second briefing, Kim said he handed over the credentials of the lawyer recommended by the blogger to the Blue House. Now, he has made a comment with the Blue House that it had not been a favor for an appointment.

Whatever it was, Baek said he reported his meeting with the candidate to his direct boss, Cho Kuk, the senior secretary for civil affairs. If Baek had met the person under threat, the Blue House would have been fully aware of the relationship between the lawmaker and the ringleader of a group of online activists, as well as the essence of his threats.

It would have judged whether the online campaign was a private scheme by the blogger or organized crime. Yet, the Blue House hoped to weasel its way out of the scandal. Regardless of the investigation by law enforcement authorities, the Blue House must come clear about the affair first.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 18, Page 30