Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) yesterday said that 15 lawmakers have co-signed his proposal to lengthen the prison terms of incumbent or retired National Security Bureau (NSB) officers found guilty of leaking state secrets.
The proposed amendments to the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) would increase by half the sentences of NSB intelligence officers and other personnel convicted of leaking national secrets either during their active service or within a year of their retirement, he said.
At present, the act stipulates a prison sentence of three to 10 years for handing secrets to a foreign power, and one to 12 years for secretly collecting information on behalf of a foreign power, he said.
Those penalties must be stepped up to increase their deterrence value, in light of the mounting threat of China-directed foreign espionage activity in Taiwan, especially those aiming to compromise the bureau, he said.
Enhanced sentencing is justified by the fact that bureau officials and support staff have access to secret information that far exceeds that of the general public and by their confidentiality clause, which remains applicable after retirement, he said.
To protect the bureau from infiltration by compromised recruits, the proposed amendments would require mandatory security assessments of candidates immediately after the completion of the initial qualification examination, he said
The practice of vetting candidates after they have completed training is a potential vulnerability that hostile powers could exploit to gain insight into the bureau’s operational methods and procedures, he said.
Moreover, eliminating candidates after they have completed their training is a waste of resources and such decisions are routinely contested by candidates in court, giving rise to unnecessary legal expenses, he said.
Security vetting is conducted to ensure that intelligence officers’ loyalty and integrity are untainted by enemy measures and that they are above allowing personal factors to influence the conduct of intelligence operations, he said.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a