Kim Yong-chol, the first head of the bureau, is believed to have orchestrated cyber attacks on South Korean firms and institutions in July 2009; a naval confrontation with South Korea in November that year; an assassination attempt on Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector, in February 2010; the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010; the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November of 2010; a hacking attempt on Nonghyup Bank; and the jamming of South Korean GPS signals between 2010 and 2012.
The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday ran a photo of Kim Yomg-chol applauding at a musical performance that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also attended. It shows him with his former insignia of a four-star general after he was demoted to lieutenant general three months ago.
An intelligence source here said 10 top North Korean military officials had either been demoted or sacked in October and November of last year, but only two were rehabilitated. They are new army chief Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yong-chol.
"This clearly shows who Kim Jong-un trusts in the North Korean military," the source said.