It has been confirmed that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) has recently placed all 27 first-degree directors on the waiting list. Analysts say that the Yoon Suk-yeol administration has begun a major personnel reshuffle in the NIS after the regime change.
All directors were excluded from their duties before the official announcement of personnel appointments. It is said that the team leaders, who are in the position under the director, were acting as the director.
Political observers say that high-intensity reforms, including personnel reshuffle by the NIS, will soon begin. President Yoon's appointment of lawyer Cho Sang-joon, a former prosecutor who was close to Yoon, as the chief in charge of personnel and budget management of the NIS was an omen to the high-intensity reform of the NIS.
A key ruling party official said, "We need to check what happened at the NIS during the five-year Moon Jae-in government."
The reform of the NIS during the regime change period has also been carried out by previous governments. The Moon Jae-in government, which was launched after 10 years in power of the conservative government, set up a "task force to clean up old evils" within the NIS to carry out high-intensity NIS reform.
In 1994, in the early days of the Kim Young-sam administration, the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee was established as an external monitoring device for the National Security Planning Ministry, and about 300 employees of the ministry were put on standby.
The Kim Dae-jung government, which transformed the Ministry of National Security into the NIS, carried out manpower adjustment affecting 11.2 percent of its employees. At that time, about 700 employees from the Ministry of National Security resigned.
Analysts say that the NIS decision to re-change the NIS motto and the NIS motto-engraved big stone, which were replaced in June last year, is also part of its effort to erase the trace of the Moon Jae-in government.
The NIS said in a press release on the same day, "We restored the NIS motto, which had been controversial as it was written in the ex-convict of espionage Sin Young-bok’s handwriting, to the original phrase, 'We work in the dark and aim for the sunny side.’"
The restored phrase was enacted at the time of the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service) in 1961 and was used for 37 years until it was replaced immediately after the inauguration of the Kim Dae-jung government.
Kim Kyu-hyun, head of the NIS, told employees, "Rewriting the first NIS motto means not going back to the past, but going back to the beginning and sticking to the original role of the intelligence agency that silently devotes itself to the nation and the people."