The prosecution indicted two current and six former officials of the National Intelligence Service Thursday for their involvement in a massive political maneuver set up to benefit the two previous governments.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said a 53-year-old surnamed Chang and a 50-year-old surnamed Hwang, both in custody, were put on trial for engaging in online activities in violation of NIS law that bans political interference.
It also charged six others -- NIS retirees -- without detention for their roles in the scheme led by then chief Won Sei-hoon to influence public opinion in favor of the Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak governments between 2009 and 2012.
They are accused of leading covert NIS cyberteams and instructing their staff to write Internet comments on major portals in support of the former presidents and against their liberal rivals or celebrities critical of the previous governments.
Won is already serving a four-year jail term after he was convicted of political interference in violation of election and NIS laws. He is awaiting the top court’s decision.
Since liberal President Moon Jae-in took office in May, an internal NIS probe team has found additional evidence further implicating Won and his staff in running dozens of such teams to take charge of the activities and funded them with billions of won in taxpayer money. (Yonhap)