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OK, I might have an issue naming a guy with a CIA background as science minister, too

I linked yesterday to a Dong-A piece on Jeong H Kim, the Korean-American guy who has been named by Park Geun-hye to be her minister of science and technology.

As I noted, the guy has a compelling life story. Unfortunately, the Chosun Ilbo notes that said compelling story includes a stint on a CIA External Advisory Board. He also served as director of venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, founded in 1999 with CIA money.

Needless to say, this has some folk—particularly in the political opposition—asking questions. Namely, they’re asking whether it’s appropriate to name a guy with a record working for a foreign intelligence organization as a minister.

Cheong Wa Dae is sticking with their guy, though, and a nameless Saenuri Party lawmaker told the Chosun Ilbo that there are pro-North Korean lawmakers in the National Assembly, too, so there’s no big deal here.

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  • wangkon936

    Wow… Korea has the opportunity to hire the effing ex-CEO of Bell Labs as their Minister of Science & Technology. I bet you India or China would JUMP at the chance to put Bell Labs expertise in the top echelons of their government. This guy is effing qualified enough to be in the U.S. Cabinet!

    They are complaining about him helping the CIA set-up a venture fund? This guy was never a card holding CIA employee to begin with! Korea, don’t fuck this up. Be reasonable.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    This guy is effing qualified enough to be in the U.S. Cabinet!

    Nobody is doubting that. The question is, is he Korean enough to be in the Korean cabinet:

    http://news.kukinews.com/article/view.asp?page=1&gCode=pol&arcid=0006917578&code=41111111&cp=nv

  • wangkon936

    As an investor and executive in a multitude of boards overseeing a lot of innovation, keeping confidentiality was probably a way of life for this guy. I’m sure as a professional, he would handle this job with the utmost confidentiality. Also as a professional I’m sure he would do the best job possible for any employer that would trust him.

    For a position dealing with science and technology, nationalistic fervor is not a worthy qualification. Korea needs outside the box thinking and this outsider from America can provide it. Just by resume alone, this guy’s qualifications are off the charts.

  • Wedge1

    Gotta agree. A public domain CIA advisory role is not a disqualifier for a science ministry gig. MND minister, on the other hand, would be contraindicated.

  • oranckay

    I’m trying to imagine what Israel would do. Also, how Americans would react if someone like this did “return” to, say, China. I imagine he only signed NDA’s and never had access requiring security clearance, but having someone do anything for CIA and then go run things in another country is annoying at best from an American perspective. Come to think of it FBI probably did thorough background on him so maybe US intel community could decide it’s a good thing that someone they’ve got files on is a cabinet minister in a foreign country. Compared at least to someone they know nothing about.