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S. Korea spy agency apologizes for bugging

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- South Korea's state spy agency offered a public apology Friday for illegally wiretapping private conversations of politicians and businessmen.

The unprecedented apology from the National Intelligence Service comes after the wiretap scandal swept the country for the past weeks, leading to the resignation of Seoul's ambassador to the United States, Hong Seok-hyun, and the arrest of a former spy agent involved in wiretapping operation.

"I am here to confess the fact that we confirmed illegal wiretapping and seek forgiveness," NIS chief Kim Seung-kyu said in a statement, admitting its bugging practices in the past.

"The agency was found to have conducted wiretapping until March 2002," he said. He also confessed that it was technically possible to bug mobile phone calls.

But Kim said illegal wiretapping was eradicated shortly after the inauguration of President Roh Moo-hyun in February in 2002.

"Now, we don't need to conduct illegal bugging, and we don't have the intention of doing so," he added.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.


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