Scandals and feuds aren't like old soldiers -- they don't just fade away. The latest scandals to monopolize the headlines are also proof that it will take years before all the dirty laundry hidden by the KMT government is discovered and dealt with. At the root of the scandals is a struggle for control over Taiwan's national security apparatus. But this power struggle is linked to the old grudge-match between former president Lee Teng-hui (
Control Yuan member Kang Ning-hsiang (
Kang's report also addresses the murder of navy Captain Yin Ching-feng (
But Kang's report was almost completely over-shadowed yesterday by the growing furor over claims by former National Security Bureau (NSB) cashier -- and alleged embezzler -- Liu Kuan-chun (
The timing of Liu's leaks is certainly a sign that the power struggle between the old and new guard -- between mainlander and Taiwanese -- in the national security institutions that erupted after President Chen Shui-bian (
The NSB was quick to suggest that Next magazine might have violated national security laws by reporting Liu's allegations, although it didn't seem equally upset with the China Times for doing exactly the same thing. Despite an attempt to block publication of Next's latest issue, both the magazine and the China Times gave extensive coverage to Liu's allegations yesterday.
More allegations and counter-allegations will surely be aired in the coming days. But one thing is clear. The attempt to place blame for past wrongdoings should not sideline efforts to prevent such mistakes from happening again.
Because military procurement programs have long been conducted behind closed doors and without outside supervision, kickbacks and illegal deals were far too easy to arrange. Nothing was allowed to interrupt such corruption, even if it meant murder. Secret funds, especially those for national security agencies, are also open invitations for abuse. Because only a handful of people control the NSB's secret funds, the lack of supervision made it easier to embezzle money from them.