Korean Spy’s Suicide Note Asks Hard Questions

South Korea Spy Suicide Lee
Lee Byung-ho. Director of the NIS

Days ago South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced that it too had purchased hacking tools from cyber security pariahs, the Italian Hacking Team. Now the organization reveals one of its agents has been found dead in his car. The spy’s body was discovered beside a supposed suicide note that comments on the recent NIS revelation.

The NIS was originally established as the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in 1961. In 1999 the organization changed its moniker to reflect its present mission which reflects something of a mix between Foreign Intelligence and NSA-level Domestic Spying – despite what its officials claim.

“Defense Security Command’s purchases have had nothing to do with the NIS or the Italian firm.”, the South Korean Army declared.

The purpose was to ensure national security and to conduct criminal investigations. The DSC conducts eavesdropping only to a limited extent.

However, that is not what internal Hacking Team documents reveal:Korean Spy Suicide Note Email

The NIS previously claimed that Hacking Team tools were used only to monitor rivals in North Korea and for research purposes. The recent announcement was forced when Wikileaks posted the Hacking Team email trove online earlier this month.

Also read: Search the Wikileaks Hacking Team Dump

Police officials in Yongin city said they found the 46 year old NIS agent dead in his car. They refused to reveal the name or details about the victim’s note. Instead citing the family had requested that information not be made public.

Two previous NIS directors faced trial and were convicted in 1999 and 2003 for monitoring 1,800 mobile phone conversations of South Korea’s political, corporate and social elite. Both received suspended sentences. If Lee faces trial he will be the third NIS director to face conviction since 1999.

 Images from Emannuel DYAN and Korean NIS.