Thu, Sep 09, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Presidential Office leak discovered

POSITION OF TRUST A senior military officer in the National Security Bureau had been leaking information concerning the president's security

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Security Bureau yesterday confirmed that a senior military officer had been leaking information about the president's schedule and security arrangements.

Colonel Chen Feng-lin (陳鳳麟) of the bureau's Special Service Center's logistics department confessed that he leaked classified information regarding security measures at President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) residence as well as the president's itinerary to Peng Tzu-wen (彭子文), a former director of the center who retired as a major general. Peng is now a frequent guest on various TV talk shows.

All requests for an interview of Chen Feng-lin were declined. According to the bureau, Chen Feng-lin was forced to retire after he admitted to the breach of security, and he is not being investigated by military prosecutors.

The bureau said that it had carried out polygraph tests on all its personnel since Aug. 4 on the president's request, after the president became concerned that the media was accurately following his itinerary, regardless of whether or not his schedule had been publicly released.

As a result, he asked the bureau to carry out the testing to find out who was responsible for the leak.

On Aug. 20, Chen Feng-lin told officials at the bureau that he had more than once told Peng about the president's schedule and security arrangements. Peng then took advantage of the information given by Chen Feng-lin to participate in different TV talk shows and discuss the information publicly.

If Chen Feng-lin's confession is confirmed by military prosecutors and he is indicted, Peng's actions will also be considered a breach of national security, and he will face legal proceedings.

As of press time, Peng refused to speak to reporters.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said that Chen Feng-lin and Peng should take responsibility for what they had done. But he also said that the case does not mean all special service personnel are in the habit of betraying their boss and their country.

"Let law enforcement officers do their duty," Kao said. "Special service people have to take an oath before they carry out their missions. Those who fail to keep the secrets with which they have been entrusted deserve certain punishment, for sure."

In the meantime, Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the bureau and the president's security apparatus were functioning normally. "Accidents" like this happen, especially as Taiwan is a democratic country, he said.

"Everything is on the right track. Leaking classified information like this happens every now and then, but we still have the necessary mechanisms to fix the problems. No sweat," Su said.

Asked whether the president has been informed of the latest developments in the case, Su said that it is the chief guard's job to brief the president, and he had no idea whether the guard had done so.

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