Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters

Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters

A conservative deputy AG let his emotions get out of hand. It wasn’t the first time.

— By Adam Weinstein

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.”From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.” In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

As one of 144 attorneys in that office, Jeff Cox has represented the people of his state for 10 years. And for much of that time, it turns out, he’s vented similar feelings on Twitter and on his blog, Pro Cynic. In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator’s mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball. But he evinces contempt for political opponents—from labeling President Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy of the nation to comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi “brownshirts” on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as “a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up” by local police. A “sensible policy for handling Afghanistan,” he offered, could be summed up as: “KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!

Early Sunday, Mother Jones sent an email to Cox’s work address at the Indiana attorney general’s office, asking if the Twitter and blog comments were his, and if he could provide context for some of them. He responded shortly after from a personal email address: “For ‘context?’ Or to silence me? All my comments on twitter & my blog are my own and no one else’s. And I can defend them all.

“[Y]ou will probably try to demonize me,” he wrote, “but that comes with the territory.”

To be sure, in the current political climate, partisan rhetoric has run hot online—and the Constitution guarantees everyone’s right to such rhetoric. Nonetheless, a spokesman for the Indiana attorney general’s office, Bryan Corbin, told Mother Jones that Cox’s statements were “inflammatory,” and he promised “an immediate review” of the matter. “We do not condone any comments that would threaten or imply violence or intimidation toward anyone,” Corbin added.

The incident seems all the more troubling now that the public-sector union fight playing out in Wisconsin is now headed to other states—including Indiana, where GOP senators Tuesday passed a bill that would abolish collective bargaining for state teachers. (Indiana’s Republican governor walked back his support of the measure Tuesday after taking stock of the opposition.) Cox’s public writings made it clear that he isn’t a member of a public-service union, and he has no love for those who are.

“Individuals have the First Amendment right to post their own personal views in online forums on their own time,” Corbin wrote to Mother Jones, “but as public servants, state employees also should strive to conduct themselves with professionalism and appropriate decorum in their interactions with the public.” Cox had been contacted by the office, Corbin added: “We have reiterated to the employee the standards of professional conduct expected for all licensed attorneys and for employees of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. After all the relevant information is obtained, this agency then will determine whether there has been any violation of the personnel handbook.”

In the meantime, we hoped to give Cox a chance to explain his thoughts in greater detail. In his initial email to Mother Jones, Cox had written, “Ask what questions you want & I will do my best to answer. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll learn something.” So we emailed him a list of questions:

What did he mean when he tweeted: “Planned Parenthood could help themselves if the only abortions they performed were retroactive”?

In referring to President Obama, why did he use a George W. Bush line once directed at the Iraqi people: “Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country”?

Were members of the SEIU really like Hitler’s Sturmabteilung, and did he stand by his headline, “Putting the ‘Reich’ in Robert Reich“?

We never heard back.

Adam Weinstein is Mother Jones’ copy editor. For more of his stories, click here or follow him on Twitter. Get Adam Weinstein’s RSS feed.

Mexican President Interview On US Agencies’ Rivalries Obstructing Drug War

FCH: states evade combat crime

U.S. ambassadors have hurt the relationship, he says. PAN-PRD alliance defends against undemocratic rulers. Read the full interview here.

The president defended the relevance of the alliance of the PAN and PRD ante governors representing a democratic regression ” (Photo: LUCIA GODINEZ / EL UNIVERSAL) 

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was wearing yesterday with the intention of those who have determined to weigh his words, calculate impact, fine embroidery.

Extended a distant look on the issues ofpartisan politics , although licenses were allowed in areas that evidently exasperated, as the passivity of the governors againstorganized crime or criticism of diplomacy in the United States.

“They themselves are like ‘Borondongo’…, Barnabas gave the CIA and the DEA or ICE really not coordinated, even compete with each other …”.

The man who with his colleagues frequently says that we must choose the battles that they agree that the fight against drug trafficking was “inevitable.” Receiving recommendations suggests that “do not mess around …”, but the president argues that” the country that sin has brought repentance. ”

Warning that not all parties and presidential candidates have the same level of commitment in the fight against organized crime, so that voters must determine who to support.

Not surprisingly, when Calderón referred to as bitter pages of their fatal accident management Juan Camilo Mouriño and the crisis of the new influenza virus, but when you take away from Elba Esther Gordillo, leader of the National Union of Education Workers on which says that the only alliance that holds it is “the pursuit of educational quality.”

Shown speaking formal partnerships PAN and PRD, but make sure you leave the door open when state governments exist for their excesses and closure ‘represents an authoritative regression, contrary to democracy. ”

Felipe Calderon is in the beginning of the final stretch of his administration. Here, excerpts from his conversation with EL UNIVERSAL

What is the most difficult time that management has to live, and what the brightest?

On November 8, 2008, when Juan Camilo Mouriño died in 2008, was an affectation of government, because it was the Interior Minister at that time, also social, personal and because he had a close relationship with him. Really meant literally irreparable loss. Also, the time we had knowledge of influenza and the dimensions of risk involved for the country. The scene spoke of the possibility of up to 20 million dead. Another was also the most difficult moments and each day, to publicize the death of soldiers, police and civilian deaths they are always difficult challenges for a president.

“In government takes great satisfaction from the first day of inauguration. I think it was a great day for taking risks, having decided not to give in to blackmail and betrayal, violence, and take possession on campus Congress, I remember with great joy and pride. The day that could be consummated making facilities Luz y Fuerza, in half the time than we anticipated and without any violent incident. ”

Did you think any time you may succeed Juan Camilo Mouriño in 2012?

He had great qualities, was very capable, very intelligent, very charismatic. I had given instructions, as I did with other secretaries of Interior, which could not possibly be thinking or planning action … even thinking. But I know I would face the issue of being born in Spain but has been registered in Mexico. That would have complicated their chances.

Once you have completed your management, what do you think that will be remembered by Mexicans?

It is very difficult, very difficult. I would like to be remembered as a president who transformed Mexico, a president who could initiate a turning point in many things, a president who achieved universal health coverage … in short, or a president committed to the environment, which is my favorite subject. But I also know that one should not measure their actions by the ability to be remembered, is to do what must be done. Bear in mind that the policy is shortsighted and the story is grossly unfair. The only trial to which we aspire and that objectivity is the trial will show that we have to conclude our lives, is the only trial to which we must abide.

On the security issue, when he took the decision on what diagnosis to make this task a top priority of his government?

Never decided it would be the main task, but it has been the most prominent being the most visible, most obviously, the most striking. In fact, the triggering factor that put the emphasis on safety arose just in the transition period, to be gathering the reports, information on the behavior of gangs, and in particular the case of Michoacán.

But remember that in 2004, in elections in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, alerted to the problem. Tamaulipas said that if there was no government to be responsible for the fundamental task of the safety of Tamaulipas, in the future who would rule would be neither the PAN or the PRI, will be Los Zetas.

Sometimes it seems that this is a task only the federal government, state governments circumvent a specific role … Makes an enormous lack assume that this issue with responsibility, because it is easy throw the ball to the president of the republic, when it is in accordance with the Constitution, a responsibility is a task that corresponds to the mayors and governors, not just the president. I think if we had all taken with the same integrity the task of dealing with crime in a while we were living a much more encouraging in Mexico, and I mean not just organized crime, we must remember that the theft is 83% of crimes committed in Mexico. People who suffer crime in the country who steal the public transport portfolio, is that he got to his house, which was assaulted in the street. That crime has little or nothing to do with organized crime, but neither is combat.

“This issue is conditioning a time scraping with the U.S.?

Complex always has been, and particularly on this issue. I have found both President Bush and with President Obama cooperation in this matter, but obviously institutional cooperation ends up being well enough.

What Americans need to cooperate?

In reducing drug consumption, not reduced. And two, to stop the flow of weapons, and have not decreased but have increased.

What is your opinion on the cables that exhibited WikiLeaks?

There the ambassadors who cast him cables generated a lot of cream to her heels. Always wanted to raise their own agendas in their own heads, and have done so much damage to the stories they tell and the truth, distort.There are many cases that is not worth talking.

Can you cite a particular cable?

Those who spoke of the lack of coordination between different agencies. I the U.S. ambassador that I have not tell you how many times I meet with the security cabinet or what I say, the truth is that it is a matter for them. I do not accept or tolerate any kind of intervention. But ignorance of Mr. results in a distortion of what happens in Mexico and falls in an affectation and a nuisance in our own team.

Where if there is lack of coordination among security agencies in the United States. We see that the DEA, CIA and the ICE always have a policy of “Borondongo gave Barnabas … The truth is that they are coordinated and other rivals.

Does the next government, regardless of which party is, follow this line of work, or are concerned about a shift in strategy?

I think that whoever becomes the next president or president can not resign, can not give in, to protect citizens.Now, is there any risk? Yes I see the same degree of commitment from candidates and parties, but it is a subject that touches distinguish the voters, and eventually decide whom to support.

In times of former President Diaz Ordaz ordered people in the streets asking people what they thought of the president, because the media were silent. Today they say the President all, in almost all media, including on his personal life.

How do I live this reality?

I’ve always been someone who believes in freedom, but I think that freedom must be accompanied with responsibility. I think that freedom of expression has to be done responsibly and that is unfortunate when there is so exercised. But more unfortunate would not have it. I was a candidate for the first time at 21 years of age, virtually all my life I have been under political scrutiny and have also been subject to intense and comprehensive attack those who just plain are not happy that I won. That does not bother me much, my principle is to follow what conscience dictates. When there is any libel or fib, which are so common among those with no arguments, I focus on talking with my children and keep an affectation.

They are about to begin the pre-campaign towards 2012. In 2006, his party had an alliance with SNTE and its leader, Elba Esther Gordillo, which resulted in this government in government positions to people close to her.

“This alliance has been discontinued or modified?

The essence of my agreement with the SNTE weighs heavily on an alliance for quality education … But there was an alliance in the electoral … Yes, but that varies depending on the circumstances and conditions. The party most identified with teachers is New Alliance, which has been in recent years various alliances … With different parties … particularly with the PRI. And surely make more in the future in the sense that is most appropriate to their interests.

Do you not foresee a new partnership with them and the PAN, in 2012?

That depends on what the PAN, the truth is that in that sense I’ve been respectful of all political parties, including mine. I can not venture what will happen in 2012.

What is your position on alliances with the PRD, PAN, in some states, especially that which could be in the State of Mexico?

It is a very complicated issue. Generate benefits for some parties who perform in some cases. I think the PRI and the Green Ecological Party of Mexico have been very fruitful partnership and a long time ago. I have a certain reluctance to subject the risk that these partnerships generate a conflict in terms of party identification and policy options.

But I think, on the other hand, much depends on the agreements of the party leaders.

But you would like or not the PAN was in alliance with the PRD in the State of Mexico?

I will respect the decision made by the National Action Party. Obviously as a man of the match I would like the PAN had its own political capacity to apply their own candidates. But I understand when the subject is placed in the perspective of pending democracy in Mexico.

It seems that state election machinery still have much to explain in terms of transparency to the citizens, when they are truly unimaginable amounts of resources in favor of candidate organizational capabilities that hardly a party can assemble their own, without other support. In that sense, I understand the logic that has led some to ally those concerns in mind, to put it shortly, authoritarian regression.

“When two or more parties have a common concern with a return or an authoritarian regression by means of the crush, so do not democratic elections, without saying if you agree, I do understand the logic of their arguments.”

Calderon aims fury at U.S. diplomats

Calderon aims fury at U.S. diplomats

Leaked cables contain remarks that undermine relations, he says

By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

MEXICO CITY — As officials from both countries vow to jointly avenge the murder of a U.S. federal agent, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has accused senior American diplomats of damaging the cross-border relationship with criticism of Mexico‘s public security forces.

In a wide-ranging interview published Tuesday in El Universal, one of Mexico City’s leading newspapers, Calderon charged that U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual‘s “ignorance has translated into a distortion of what is happening in Mexico” that has caused “an impact and an irritation in our own team.”

Calderon was reacting to a barrage of analytic cables – some signed by Pascual, others by senior embassy officials – that discuss the perceived shortcomings of Mexico’s intelligence services, the conduct of its army in Calderon’s anti-crime campaign and the inability of its security forces to work well with one another.

The U.S. Embassy offered no immediate reaction to the interview.

The cables, some classified secret, have been published by the website WikiLeaks, with still more appearing this week. Until Tuesday, Mexican officials have responded to the cables with shrugs and condemnations of WikiLeaks rather than the diplomats.

Not any more.

“They have done a lot of damage with the stories they tell and that, in truth, they distort,” Calderon said of the cables in the interview.

Frustration festering

Calderon’s remarks came just a week after Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Jaime Zapata, 32, was shot to death on a central Mexican highway, presumably by gangsters. ICE agent Victor Avila, was injured in the attack. Zapata was buried Tuesday in Brownsville.

U.S. and Mexican officials have continually stressed the two countries’ close cooperation in Calderon’s offensive on organized crime cartels, whose ensuing violence has claimed nearly 35,000 lives in little more than four years. The U.S. government has committed more than $1.4 billion in training, equipment and other assistance.

Now, with Calderon entering the final third of his six year term – and doubts growing whether his successor will continue the fight – neither the criminal gangs nor the violence seem close to being extinguished.

Frustration festers on both sides of the border.

Criminal ‘insurgency’

In addition to the U.S. diplomats, Calderon accused Mexico’s local and state governors of failing to do their part against the gangsters.

“If we all had assumed the task of confronting crime with the same integrity,” Calderon said, “we long ago would have been living a much more encouraging scenario in Mexico.”

Mexican officials were angered more than two years ago when a U.S. agency issued a report suggesting the country was on the verge of becoming a “failed state.” They were riled again a few weeks ago when a U.S. undersecretary of the Army publicly repeated concerns in Washington of a criminal “insurgency” threatening Mexico.

“Although operational cooperation is much better today than it was a decade or two ago, the same nationalist sentiments continue to bubble up to the top of the political debate in both countries,” said Andrew Selee, a Mexico specialist at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

“We will see the relationship become more tense over the next year and a half as the Mexican election approaches and frustrations mount in the Calderon administration over lack of immediate progress in containing the violence.”

As he has in the past, Calderon complained to El Universal that the U.S. government has done little to curb either American demand for the drugs produced or smuggled through Mexico or the flow of weapons south across the border.

“The institutional cooperation ends up being notoriously insufficient,” Calderon said. He also complained that U.S. agencies have often failed to work together and in view one another as rivals.

Two years, 60 deaths

Still, scores of U.S. federal agents work with Mexican counterparts throughout the country in advisory and support roles. A U.S. Embassy cable from early 2009 revealed that more than 60 Mexican agents who had worked closely with the Americans had been killed in just the first two years of Calderon’s crackdown.

Zapata was the first U.S. agent slain by Mexican gangsters since Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. But U.S. officials had feared such an attack as the ties with Mexican agencies grew closer.

“The threat to U.S. personnel could increase if the violence continues to escalate and more high-level government officials and political leaders are targeted,” the cable warned. “A reaction may be triggered if traffickers perceive their losses are due to U.S. support to the (Mexican government’s) counternarcotics efforts.”

dudley.althaus@chron.com

Kayani Still Denying Responsibility for Anything Bad In Balochistan

[The scary part is that the head warlord is grasping at straws concerning both Pakistan and Afghanistan, denying the Army hand in Balochistan and denial of meeting with Haqqani leadership over cross-border issues.  The Army does no wrong, period.  Lest anyone forget, the ISI is Army intelligence, just as surely as CIA is US military.  If CIA is in error in either Pakistan or Afghanistan, it is the US military that is wrong in the end.  If ISI is guilty of something (perhaps the abduction, torture and murder of Baloch dissidents?), then it the Army’s responsibility.  The missing of Balochistan is an Army matter, whether Gen. Kayani will admit that or not.  If it is not, then perhaps it should be.]

Baloch Hal Editorial: A Futile Visit

If the purpose of army chief General Parvez Ashraf Kayani’s one-day visit to Balochistan was the economic uplift of the province then there is surely something wrong with our democracy. If it was intended to promote education in the province, it definitely highlighted the faults in our civilian government and its failure to deliver public services. If the high-profile visit was destined to heal the Baloch wounds, the guilt was never admitted nor was a solution offered.

As ardent believers in democracy, we have always advised the military to stay away from economic ventures anywhere in the country.This is a job for the elected federal and provincial governments to perform.  The military has a professional role which is to guard the country’s frontiers. This task needs to be performed very professionally in the wake of the robust threat of  religious extremists from all over the world endeavoring to cross our borders to take the whole country hostage.

However, the army chief still has an undesired “right” to make political statements given the deep involvement of the military in the country’s polity. General Kayani categorically stated that nowhere in Balochistan was an operation taking place. His remarks came two days after the killing of two Baloch political activists by the Frontier Corps (FC) in Khuzdar district. As we write this editorial, there are unconfirmed reports about the recovery of the dead bodies of two more Baoch missing persons, including that of Mehboob Wadela, near Ormara coastal area.

Political observers have always admired General Kayani for his frigid political ambitions. Ever since taking charge of his office from General Musharraf, who captured power in 1999 through a bloodless coup, Kayani has largely stayed away from politics. Our fledgling democracy has been dwindling in the recent times but he still preferred to provide politicians a chance to learn from their mistakes and keep the democratic process continue.

General Kayani’s visit to volatile Balochistan was being seen with great anticipation that he would take serious notice of the uncontrollable role of the secrete services inside the province. He has certainly read about more than a hundred missing Baloch persons  whose dead bodies have been found from all corners of Baloch-populated districts of  the province. Most of these victims were educated, middle class students and professionals who were shot dead brutally and dumped in in isolated places.

A similar reminder was given to General Kayani by Balochistan governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi during his last visit to the province when Magsi drew the attention of the army chief about the worsening phenomenon of kill and dump policy of the secrete services. Sadly, Chief Minister Raisani did not raise this matter with the Army Chief though it was his prime responsibility as the head of the government. Nonetheless, the army chief has a crucial role to play in deescalating tensions in Balochistan. He has to publicly call of all  overt and covert operations in Balochistan.

We believe no one but General Kayani has the capability to restore order in Balochistan. While talking of the restoration of order we must be mindful of the fact that this objective cannot be attained by applying force, a blunder General Musharraf committed in futility. This time the army chief has to take personal notice of the missing person’s cases and dig out all the disappeared activists who have been kept in illegal detention centers. Only the army can save or lose Balochistan. It is for General Kayani to decide whether he wants Balochistan to become another Bangladesh or a happily accommodated, developed and stable province of the federation.

Based on the exclusion of the most outstanding issues confronting Balochistan, General Kayani’s this week’s trip to Balochistan was a disappointment and a sheer wastage of another opportunity to reconcile with the Baloch. To say no operation is taking place at a time when the missing persons’ dead bodies are recovering on regular basis is in fact tantamount to escaping responsibility. No doubt, Balochistan faces multiple problems ranging from economic deprivation to lack of ample representation in the country’s army but right now the most pressing issue that requires urgent attention is that of the missing persons. After the failure of the civilian government and the so-called independent judiciary, the army chief is the only person who can offer some hope to resolve this issue. He has to intervene and settle the issue once and for all.

Security Forces Attacked in Gwadar, Khuzdar, Nushki

[These sites were all mentioned as targets in the original warnings we had been given about US/NATO intentions to create a “strategic corridor” in western Balochistan in the NCA (NewsCentralAsia) reports, ‘Final Solution’ Frenzy – Part Four: Final Solution for Pakistan ]

Security Forces Attacked in Gwadar, Khuzdar, Nushki

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: At least five security personnel were wounded in a remote control bomb attack in the port city of Gwadar on Tuesday while unidentified people attacked a Frontier Corps (FC) check post with hand grenade in Khuzdar and a rocket was fired in Nushki.

According to sources, a vehicle carrying security personnel were passing from Fish Harbour Road of Gwadar when an explosive device planted with a motorbike parked on the road exploded soon after vehicle of security personnel passed by the area. As a result, five security personnel received serious wounds and were moved to nearby hospital for medical aid. The blast badly damaged vehicle and scattered windowpanes of nearby buildings. “Explosives were detonated through a remote control device and the vehicle of security personnel was the main target of saboteurs,” a police official said.

Soon after the blast, law enforcement agencies reached the site and cordoned off the area.

Eyewitnesses said that security personnel fired gunshots in the air after the blast that created panic in the area.

Sources said that some injured personnel were shifted to Turbat from where they would be shifted to Karachi by airplane for further treatment. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack till filing this report.

In another incident, unidentified people attacked a check post of Frontier Corps with a hand grenade in Khuzdar located on southeast of Quetta.

As per reports, unidentified people riding a motorbike threw hand grenade at FC check post set up on the RCD Highway near FC mess. Hand grenade exploded, however, caused no injuries.

FC personnel opened fire after the blast that forced the attackers to escape from the site.

Meanwhile, a rocket fired by unidentified people from undisclosed location landed nearby ground of District Police Officer’s office, in Nushki town some 148 KM away from Quetta. Rocked exploded with a big bang and caused panic amongst the people of the area. However, no loss of life and damage to property was reported in the blast.

Jail Superintendent Fired for Attempt to Help Davis Retrieve Data from USB Memory Stick

[It seems that the jailor was asked to provide hard copies of whatever was hidden on chip,  so that Davis could refresh his memory before questioning.]

Asst. Superintendent Jail sacked for providing facilities to Davis

US official Raymond Davis, in custody of Pakistani officials. – File Photo by Reuters

LAHORE: Assistant Superintendent Kot Lakhpat Jail and a prison constable were allegedly dismissed from their posts for providing facilities to US official Raymond Davis, who is detained for killing two Pakistani nationals, DawnNews reported.

According to sources, Naved Asghar posted as an assistant superintendent at the Kot Lakhpat prison allegedly tried to provide Davis with a universal serial bus (USB) memory stick with the help of a constable, Hafiz Hussain, posted in the high security zone of the Information Technology (IT) department of the prison.

The USB stick was recovered from Hussain when he was trying to enter high security cells. During investigation, he disclosed that Asghar had asked him to take the memory stick in the high security cells.

However, Asghar told officials during investigations that he had asked Hussain to take a print-out of the data of the USB stick, but he took it to the high security cells instead and did so of his own volition.

According to sources, senior officials dismissed both accused and handed investigation responsibilities to an intelligence organisation.

Indonesian Espionage Incident Exposes Internal Feud Within S, Korean Spy Agency, NIS

Infighting and feud with military cited as factors in NIS debacle

Lawmakers say the NIS was divided before the incident between Won and an official associated with the president’s elder brother
» The door of the Lotte Hotel room 1961 entered by National Intelligence Agents remains open as cleaning workers clean up the room, Feb. 22. (Photo by Kim Myoung-jin)
By Shin Seung-keun, Staff Writer and Hwang Chun-hwa 

What was behind the farcical incident in which National Intelligence Service (NIS) agents seeking to collect industrial information were caught infiltrating the room of an overseas delegation of special envoys visiting South Korea?

Observers within and close to the political sector say the incident was the product of a power battle within the NIS, inappropriate organizational changes, and competition and conflict between the military and NIS. Analysts suggest that another major factor may have been an excessive emphasis on results, with a determination to use any means necessary to realize President Lee Myung-bak’s long-cherished wish of exporting advanced training aircraft.

According to accounts from various ruling and opposition party figures familiar with the intelligence sector, at the time Won Sei-hoon took over as NIS director in February 2009, so-called “TK” connections from the Daegu (Taegu)-North Gyeongsang (Kyungbuk) Province area gained control of the NIS, handling matters such as appointments. At the center of this group was Policy Office Director Kim Ju-seong, an associate of Grand National Party Lawmaker Lee Sang-deuk, who is the older brother of President Lee Myung-bak. In response, sources report, Won carried out wide-ranging appointments in September 2010, during which a large number of TK figures received transfers to outlying provinces.

“TK figures in the NIS unanimously called for Won’s firing after the NIS reported during a National Assembly intelligence committee meeting in December of last year that it had collected intelligence about a North Korean provocation in August, three months before the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island,” said a Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker and member of the Intelligence Committee.

“It looks like the TK move to unseat Won was behind this incident,” the lawmaker said.

A ruling party lawmaker on the committee said, “Judging from the media reports, which are extremely specific, there seems to be a battle within the NIS between the contingent that is trying to unseat Won and move into key posts in the service and the side that is already holding the reins.”
Other observers say the system for intelligence collection and administration has broken down because of large-scale organizational changes effected after Won took office.

“Won really shook up the areas of intelligence and investigation in the name of reforms,” said a source familiar with the NIS situation.

“Intelligence activity is not something you do according to a manual,” the source said. “The reality of the NIS is the transmission of practices in a kind of apprenticeship system through years of know-how and connections, and internal disorder arose when they disregarded this.”

“To hear the talk coming from the NIS now, the working level there is a big mess,” the source added. “The talk about a power battle may be partially true, but the biggest problem is the collapse of the internal system.”

Another interpretation from overseas is that this major incident erupted after reckless competition between the Ministry of National Defense and the NIS over weapons exports. A Defense Ministry source said, “When President Lee Myung-bak visited Indonesia last December, he thought there would be progress with the exportation of the Korean-made T-50 advanced training aircraft, and after the other side showed its reluctance, he was very upset when he came back to Korea.”

“After seeing the president enraged like that, the NIS tried to show extra loyalty and ended up overreaching,” the source said.

Meanwhile, sources reported NIS employees have been disgruntled that an incident that might have been quietly ignored blew up after the military needlessly informed the police. The military and NIS have been in conflict repeatedly over critical situations such as the sinking of the Cheonan in April 2010 and the Yeonpyeong Island attack in November.

Some observers are questioning whether the decision to rashly pursue a major coup arose in the process of keeping step with the president, someone who likes the production of visible results quickly.

Shin Kuhn, a Democratic Party lawmaker and NIS director during the Kim Dae-jung administration, said, “The NIS committed this reckless action because it was caught up in the focus on results, the idea that they simply need to produce results, whatever the means or methods.”

Meanwhile, it was reported that the NIS is operating a “safe house” at a major hotel in downtown Seoul, where it is routinely and aggressively gathering intelligence. An official with Lotte Hotel said, “There is a room where NIS employees are permanently stationed, and one employee is always at the hotel.”

Sources said the NIS has used this safe house to gather intelligence on major foreign guests staying at Lotte Hotel.

An official who took part in the handling of this case said, “In the past as well, NIS employees would secretly gather intelligence at the lodgings of guests, but as far as I know this is the first time they have been caught by the other party.”

Other sources say that NIS has similar safe houses at most major hotels in downtown Seoul and that intelligence gathering efforts using them have become more aggressive since the Lee administration took office. An official at one luxury hotel in downtown Seoul said, “Up until the time of the Kim Young-sam administration, intelligence organizations used two to three rooms year round, but this practice went away for the most part during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations.”

“The NIS’s year-round use of hotel rooms made a comeback when the Lee administration took office,” the official said.

 

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]