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S. Korean presidential top secretary refutes civilian surveillance claim

By Wooyoung Lee
S. Korean presidential top secretary refutes civilian surveillance claim
Cho Kuk, President Moon Jae-in's top secretary for civil affairs, answers questions about the presidential office's alleged surveillance of civilians, during a meeting of the National Assembly's steering committee at the Assembly in Seoul on Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A South Korean top presidential aide dismissed allegations that the presidential office monitored civilians for political purposes.

Cho Kuk, a presidential secretary for civil affairs, said Monday that the presidential office never surveilled civilians or created a list of people who are critical of the government.

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"Unlike the previous government, the Moon Jae-in government never surveils civilians or creates a blacklist," he told lawmakers at a televised parliamentary session on Monday.

The previous government was under fire for civilian surveillance.

Kim Tae-woo, a former special investigator at the presidential office, revealed earlier that the presidential office allegedly collected information on civilians. The presidential office accused Kim of leaking confidential information, saying he intentionally made the revelation after he faced disciplinary actions for his irregularities.

The case grew into a political issue as the major opposition Liberty Korea Party has accused key presidential aides, including Cho, of power abuse to the prosecution.

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