Two National Intelligence officers indicted in firing

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Two National Intelligence officers indicted in firing

The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office has indicted a National Intelligence Service official for perjury over an administrative suit filed by dismissed intelligence officers.

Prosecutors indicted the official, surnamed Park, without physical detention. Another intelligence officer, surnamed Kim, was also indicted without detention for doctoring a human-resources document that was submitted to the court as evidence.

The charges date back to April 1, 1998, early in the Kim Dae-jung administration, when 581 employees of what was then called the Agency for National Security Planning were told to work from home as members of the general affairs bureau. At the time, working for the general affairs bureau meant no official duties, and anyone moving there was slated for dismissal.

The government then said that these personnel moves, which targeted officials handling domestic intelligence and anti-communist intelligence, were aimed at turning the agency into a more credible and trustworthy organization. The office’s name was changed to the National Intelligence Service in 1999.

All 581 were dismissed by March 31, 1999. Twenty-one of them filed an administrative suit in September 2003, charging that they had been forced to sign up for voluntary retirement. Nine of them were reinstated. The remaining dozen had already passed the retirement age.

Testifying in another suit filed in August 2005, Park, who at the time was working in the human-resources department, said that the agency originally had no plans to dismiss the 581 employees after they were assigned to the general affairs bureau. But Seoul prosecutors said yesterday that Park was fully aware that the agency was ready to fire all the targeted officials.

In the same suit, dismissed ex-intelligence workers said the agency indiscriminately fired them without selection standards. To counter that, Kim, Park’s co-worker, allegedly forged a document that showed standards that determined who would be dismissed, and submitted it as counterevidence.

The National Intelligence Service conducted internal investigations into the disputed personnel moves from December 2008 to July 2009. The service reported its findings to the prosecution in August of last year.

Song Young-in, one of the dismissed ex-intelligence officers who represents the interests of his former colleagues, said the service should reveal its internal findings and the high-ranking figures who ordered the massive firing should also be punished.

By Yoo Jee-ho []

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