THE RECENT DISCLOSURES concerning widespread, systematic interference in American politics by the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), apparently under orders from South Korean President Park Chung Hee, have serious implications for American foreign policy in general and for American relations with the Park regime in particular.
According to recently published reports, the KCIA has for the past five years conducted an extensive lobbying and bribery campaign aimed at forestalling increasing demands for U.S. military disengagement from South Korea. The KCIA was aided in its influence peddling scheme by the Nixon administration, which provided a target list of 90 key Congressmen and Senators.
In addition to its lobbying and bribery efforts the KCIA has placed under surveillance and systematically harassed South Koreans living in the United States, employing methods ranging from economic sanctions to physical assault. These illegal KCIA activities have been facilitated by the acquiescence of American police and intelligence agencies.
The U.S. Department of Justice has recently begun investigating the Korean lobbying activities and Congress has indicated that it plans to initiate a similar investigation. The defection last week of KCIA agent Kim Sang Keun, now under Justice Department protection and reportedly cooperating with the inquiry, is expected to facilitate the investigations. The Justice Dept. and impending Congressional investigations should be pursued vigorously.
President-elect Carter has promised to reevaluate thoroughly U.S. military and political commitments to South Korea. Carter should make good on this pledge early in his term. In addition Carter should inform foreign governments that the U.S. will not tolerate foreign interference in U.S. domestic politics. He should back up this policy by proscribing FBI involvement in foreign intelligence agencies' U.S. operations and by ordering the FBI to monitor closely the activities of U.S.-based foreign intelligence operatives.
Finally, Carter should recognize the element of hypocrisy involved in protesting foreign subversion of U.S. political processes while the CIA conducts similar operations around the world. He should prohibit such activity in the future and limit the CIA to a purely intelligence gathering function.
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