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Cyber Command sent reports to Lee Blue House

Oct 03,2017
The presidential office of Lee Myung-bak had received hundreds of reports from the military’s Cyber Command, possibly concerning its alleged domestic political operations, the Ministry of National Defense said Sunday.

The ministry announced its interim conclusion into the reinvestigation of the Cyber Command’s suspected illegal operations during Lee’s presidency, saying 462 reports were sent from the Command to the Blue House using a military communication network for two years leading up to the 2012 presidential election. Following accusations by the ruling party and media that the Lee Blue House was behind the military’s massive online operations against liberal opposition politicians, the prosecution launched an investigation last month. They argued that President Moon Jae-in was the main target of smear campaigns ahead of the 2012 presidential election. At the time, Moon was narrowly defeated by Park Geun-hye, then the candidate of Lee’s conservative ruling party.

Last month, the Ministry of National Defense also formed a task force for reinvestigation. The military authority conducted its initial probe in 2014 when the suspicion was first made public, but no link between the Blue House and the Command was announced. At the time, former heads of the Cyber Command and a civilian employee of the military who headed the psychological warfare unit were indicted for illegal political operations.

“We restored the server of the Korean Joint Command and Control System [KJCCS] of the military on Sept. 21,” the ministry’s task force team said Sunday about its interim conclusion on the reinvestigation. “We confirmed multiple reports sent to the Blue House. From Jan. 8, 2011 to Nov. 15, 2012, 462 reports were sent to the office of the presidential secretary for defense, the presidential security situation office and the national crisis situation center through the unit 530 of the Cyber Command using the system.”

KJCCS is an internal communication network operated by the military for operations. They are used to send and receive encrypted messages.

“Most of the reports sent to the Blue House were daily briefings,” said the ministry. “They were updates on the cyber defense operations and public sentiments in the cyber space and social network services.”

The ministry said the daily reports included updates on the social network services of opinion leaders, politicians and celebrities, analyses of the April 2011 by-election and information on massive public protests against Lee’s decision to reopen the Korean market to the U.S. beef import. One particular report was about the outcome of the command’s online political operations, a military official said.

The ministry also said it obtained secret documents concerning the operations of the psychological warfare unit of the command, signed by then-Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin. The task force is investigating if Kim received briefings on the domestic political operations. It said it will share the information with the prosecution if requests are made. The prosecutors are expanding the investigation into the suspicion that Kim oversaw the domestic political operations ahead of the general and presidential elections in 2012 and briefed then-President Lee.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]