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NIS reports reform plan to parliamentary committee

Updated: 2013-12-12 (KST)
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The special parliamentary committee to reform the state spy agency resumed work this Thursday and it is currently meeting to discuss a reform plan drafted by the spy agency itself.

For more on the meeting today and what's next for the committee, let's now go over to our political correspondent, Kim Yeon-ji at the National Assembly.
Hi, Yeon-ji. Fill us in on the latest.

The special parliamentary committee on reforming the National Intelligence Service convened a closed-door meeting this morning, and its afternoon session is still on-going.
At the meeting, National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon presented a reform plan that his agency put together.
The reform proposal submitted by the NIS would scrap a system that gives NIS agents unbridled access to the National Assembly, political parties and media outlets.
The plan also sets out guidelines for the establishment of a center that will handle employee complaints of unjust or inappropriate orders from superiors that could lead them to intervene in politics.
Whether the complaints are legitimate would be determined by a special panel that would be led by two prosecutors dispatched from outside the agency.
Under the plan, all NIS agents and new recruits would be required to take an oath to not intervene in politics during their tenure and retired NIS agents would be barred from engaging in party politics within the first three years of their retirement.
Another important element of the plan calls for the establishment of codes that clearly define the scope of its psychological warfare campaign against North Korea.
NIS agents will also be barred from mentioning specific political parties or politicians when involved in psychological warfare operations.
The spy agency has been at the center of a national controversy all year long over suspicions of launching an online smear campaign in the run-up to last year's presidential election.
The ruling party gave out a rather positive review of the spy agency's reform proposal but the main opposition party harshly criticized the plan, saying that it lacks discussions of core issues, such as toughening the parliament's control over the agency's budget.

All right. In terms of timeline, what's next for the special committee assigned with reforming the NIS?

The special committee has about three weeks to complete all of the legislative work necessary to reform the spy agency in the way that it sees fit.
Next week, the committee will hold public hearings to gather experts' views on how to reform the spy agency and then it will start deliberations on how the National Intelligence Service law and a law on public officials should be revised in order to carry out the necessary reforms.

Alright. Thank you, Yeon-ji, for that report.
That was our parliamentary correspondent Kim Yeon-ji live from the National Assembly.

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