For the past two years, a former director of the South Korean intelligence Agency has been secretly giving federal investigators here detailed information about the KCIA's efforts to influence U.S. officials with cash and gifts.
According to informed sources, Kim Hyung Wook, who was KCIA director in Seoul for seven years during the 1960s, has provided investigators with a road map for their probe of the South Korean influence-buying scheme by revealing secret Swiss bank accounts, identifying South Korean businesses used as KCIA covers and naming key KCIA agents, including South Korean businessman Tongsun Park.
In particular, Kim has told U.S. investigators:
South Korean President Park Chung Hee systematically has diverted to Swiss bank accounts roughly 5 per cent of all foreign investments in his country.
Park Chung Hee regularly funelled money into campaigns of congressional and presidential candidates here during the 1960s.
U.S. congressmen visiting South Korea were routinely given cash-filled envelopes, elaborate entertainment, femal companionship, honorary degrees and medals.
A number of U.S. congressmen now under federal investigation were given cash in this country through Tongsun Park and other KCIA conduits here, with some congressmen receiving as much as $50,000 each.
Park Chung Hee's son-in-law, Han Byung Ki, then deputy ambassador in the South Korean mission to the United Nations, directed KCIA agents who tried to suppress South Korean dissidents in this country.
Bo Hi Pak, a former military attache at the South Korean Embassy here who became translator and top aide for South Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon, used both Moon's Unification Church and the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation here as vehicles for KCIA propaganda here and abroad.
Former KCIA director Kim, who has been cooperating with Justice Department investigators since October, 1975, has provided them with the names of many of the congressmen now under investigation for accepting cash and gifts from Tongsun Park. Kim later provided similar information to congressional investigators looking into the South Korean influence-peddling.
Last autumn, sources close to the congressional inquiry told The Washington Post about Kim's extensive cooperation with U.S. authorities, but they requested that none of the details be used until Kim's role became public. In yesterday's editions of The New York Times, some of Kim's role was revealed by Times reporter and Asian specialist Richard Halloran.
Kim, who was ousted from his KCIA post by Park Chung Hee late in 1969, has been living in exile in New Jersey since 1973. He has maintained close ties with prominent South Korean politicians and intelligence officials, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
His New York Times interview, in which Kim called for immediate resignation of Park Chung Hee, is therefore considered by some U.S. intelligence analysts as a sign that opposition to Park Chung Hee in Seoul might be more serious than previously believed.
Intelligence community sources noted yesterday that Kim long has been identified as an opponent of Park Chung Hee. His public comments are politically motivated and calculated to catalyze opposition in Seoul, they said.
Kim's statements to The Times, however, contain some minor conflicts with what he previously has said to federal investigators. After telling investigators last year that he knew of no intelligence activities by Washington karate entrepreneur Jhoon Rhee or Korean-born Capitol Hill secretary Suzi Park Thomson, Kim described them both in The Times interview as KCIA "lesser operatives."
Kim told U.S. investigators last year that Tongsun Park had "no specific relationship" with the KCIA while Kim was its director. In The Times interview, Kim was quoted as saying: "When I was director of the KCIA, he was my agent. I controlled Park at that time."
Despite these conflicts, U.S. investigators find Kim to be credible. Knowledgeable sources are unsure, however, whether Kim will ever be used as a witness in criminal trials because much of his information is second hand and therefore technically excludable as hearsay.
Kim is expected to be asked to testify at congressional hearings, however.
Two parallel congressional investigations into the KCIA's activities in the United States have expressed interest in Kim's testimony.
A House International Relations subcommittee headed by Rep. Donald Fraser (D-Minn.) made contact with Kim in early 1976 and its staff is known to have interviewed him several times since then.
The Fraser subcommittee has held extensive hearings on KCIA's role in this country and is now in the midst of an 18-month investigation on the wide range of U.S.-South Korea relations. Because of discrepancies in Kim's recollections of events to the subcommittee's investigators, Fraser planned to ask Kim to supply further testimony under oath, sources close to that investigation said yesterday.
The ethiesr committee investigators are particularly interested in Kim's testimony because he has named Tongsun Park as a KCIA agent and their inquiries center on whether congressmen knew Tongsun Park was a foreign agent.
In his conversations with U.S. investigators, Kim said Tongsun Park was introduced to him in 1964 by Tongsun Park's mentor, Chung II Kwon, when Chung returned from being ambassador to the U.S. to become foreign minister. For several years after that, Kim told investigators, Tongsun Park asked the KCIA for financial assistance in operating his George Town Club.
Park did not become formally associated with the KCIA until after Kim's ouster as KCIA director in 1969. At first, the flamboyant South Korean businessman acted as an "agent" under the direction of a "case officer," according to U.S. sources. Later, Tongsun Park himself became a "case officer," directing agents he himself had recruited.
Because of his continuing close ties to officials in the South Korean government, former KCIA director Kim was also able to tell investigators about the recruitment of Hancho Kim, another South Korean doing business in Washington, to be groomed as Tongsun Park's replacement in 1975 after Park came under U.S. scrutiny for his lobbying activities on Capitol Hill.
Hancho Kim, who is in the cosmetics business and has been a trustee of American University here, reportedly received $600,000 from the Park Chung Hee regime to finance lobbying and influence-buying activities in Washington. Aside from a few articles appearing under his name in newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Star, there has been little evidence of what Hancho Kim has done with the money.
The House ethics committee, which is investigating charges that many former and current congressmen accepted cash and gifts from South Korean agents, also plans to question Kim, sources said yesterday.
Kim is the second high ranking KCIA official known to be cooperating with U.S. investigators. Kim Sang Kuen, who was the No. 2 KCIA agent stationed at the South Korean embassy here, asked for U.S. asylum last fall after he was recalled by the Park regime when the influence-buying scandal became public.
While Kim Sang Kuen did not have access to as wide at range of KCIA activities as former KCIA director Kim Hyung Wook, he has been able to provide U.S. investigators with more up-to-date information about the South Korean influence-buying effort here.
Beyond the basic information and guidance Kim Hyung Wook has provided, many of his more sensational allegations are considered by investigators to be difficult to confirm. Others have no bearing on possible prosecutions.
Kim told investigators, for example, that Park Chung Hee has diverted to Swiss bank accounts for conversion to cash roughly 5 per cent of all foreign investments in South Korea through kickbacks from foreign companies, campaign contributions from them and compulsary commissions. Kim has provided the name of one KCIA agent who was paid $50,000 to take check from an American corporation doing business in South Korea to Switzerland and return to South Korea with currency.
Kim alternately has made and withdrawn allegations that Park Chung Hee funnelled cash into the presidential campaigns of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and Hubert H. Humphery in 1968. Among the names of congressmen who Kim has names as recipients of money, campaign contributions or gifts from Tongsur Park and William Broomfield, (R-Mich.), Cornelius Gallagher, (D-N.J.), Richard T. Hanna (D-Calif.), John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.), and Otto E. Passman (D-La.).
Broomfield, Murphy and Passman have denied receiving money or gifts from Park.Hanna has acknowledged substantial business deals and campaign funds from Park. Gallagher has declined comment.
According to knowledgeable sources, Kim also has periodically alluded to the existence of a long KCIA list of U.S. congressmen paid by South Korea, but he has failed to produce any such list.
Kim has also described for U.S. investigators details of the activities of Bo Hi Pak, principal aide and translator for evangelist Sun Myung Moon. Pak jointly gained influence in Moon's Unification Church and founded the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation here as independent KCIA operations to provide "cover" and money for other KCIA personnel, according to Kim's account.
According to U.S. intelligence sources, Moon was fully aware of Pak's connection with the KCIA and his use of the Unification Church for political purposes but was not himself an employee of the KCIA.
The U.S. CIA was fully aware of Pak's role here as a KCIA operative, according to two informed sources. State Department officials were aware of Bo Hi Pak's role by 1970 for example, and protested to the Department of Justice, which declined to prosecute Pak.