President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday appointed a former high-ranking prosecutor the new second deputy director of the National Intelligence Service as part of efforts to revamp the spy agency, which has been embroiled in an evidence fabrication scandal.
Kim Soo-min, 60, takes the post that was left vacant after Suh Cheon-ho stepped down as second deputy director last month amid mounting allegations the agency had forged evidence to help convict a North Korean defector of espionage.
Kim served as chief of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office and Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office. Kim has led a local private firm since leaving the prosecution in September 2009.
“The appointee has broad experience and is an expert in criminal law, public security and foreign affairs,” presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters in the morning.
“His humble and reasonable character as well as his excellent management skills and deep trustworthiness have led (the president) to appoint him,” he said, adding that President Park would officially appoint him later in the day or on Thursday.
The second deputy director of the NIS commands agents to gather and analyze intelligence on domestic affairs and on North Korea.
Park had named Suh, a former senior police official, to the post when she took office early last year. But Suh offered to resign last month to take responsibility for the growing criticism of the spy agency’s alleged role in the evidence forgery scandal.
The prosecution indicted two midlevel NIS officials involved in the scandal.
Park delivered a rare public apology last month over intelligence agents’ alleged evidence forgery and urged the NIS to make efforts to overhaul its organization and hold the agents responsible.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org