Prosecutors have launched a full-fledged investigation into allegations that during the Lee Myung-bak administration, the National Intelligence Service(NIS) participated in ousting artists and figures in the cultural sector who were critical of the government.
 
The spy agency on Thursday requested prosecutors at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to look into suspicions that former NIS Director Won Sei-hoon and former head of the NIS’ planning office, Kim Joo-sung, abused their power by blacklisting figures in the cultural and entertainment sectors.
 
A prosecution official said prosecutors will thoroughly review the case and swiftly carry out the probe.
 
Earlier on Monday, the NIS revealed that an internal probe found that the agency set up a task force on countering leftist celebrities under the lead of Kim Joo-sung in July 2009 or at the beginning of Won’s term in office. The NIS said the task force applied pressure so that the figures on the blacklist were removed from certain programs.