The New York Times reported that a 46-year-old NIS agent working for the South Korean government was found dead in an apparent suicide. The man left a note denying National Intelligence Service, the South Korean Intelligence Agency, has been running a massive surveillance on the population by eavesdropping cellphone and computer conversations.
The NIS agent was found dead Saturday in his car parked on a hill in Yongin, a major city in the Seoul Capital Area, located in Gyeonggi Province.
According to the police that found the man, the agent said that the NIS “really didn’t” spy on civilians or on political activity related to elections. He apologized to colleagues, including the NIS director Lee Byoung Ho, explaining that overzealousness in doing his job might be the cause of the tragedy.
The NIS confirmed lawmakers this week it purchased the Hacking Team’s RCS in 2012, but it added that it’s the software only in counterintelligence operation against the North Korea. The NIS is planning to provide further details of how the programs were used by its agents.
The story is particularly disconcerting because the NIS was accused in the past of spying South Koreans’ private conversations. The suspects were reinforced by the content of the Hacking Team internal emails leaked by Wikileaks in a searchable archive.
“In the note he left behind, the agent also said that he destroyed surveillance material on the activity of North Korean agents because the data had created “misunderstandings.””reported the New York Times.
The controversy surrounding NIS activities is a long story, in the past high intelligence officials were convicted and received suspended prison terms for spying on unaware population, including politicians and private firms.
“Two NIS directors who successively headed the spy service from 1999 to 2003 were convicted and received suspended prison terms for overseeing the monitoring of cellphone conversations of about 1,800 of South Korea’s political, corporate and media elite.
On Thursday, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered a new trial for another former spy chief convicted of directing an online campaign to smear a main opposition candidate in the 2012 presidential election, won by current President Park Geun-hye.” continues the NYT.
(Security Affairs – South Korea, NIS)