Thu, Mar 21, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Liu case controversy: NSB director defends secret funds

LASHING OUT The chief of the country's top security agency said that media reports exposing secret accounts under his bureau's control are a threat to national security



National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Tsao-ming (蔡朝明) yesterday said the president is fully justified in using "special means" to enlarge the country's role in the international community.

"It is also natural for the NSB to have a secret budget. It is true of every country which runs intelligence operations," Tsai said.

Tsai was responding to PFP and media allegations yesterday that claimed, among other things, that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had used US$11 million from a secret NSB fund in an attempt to stop South Africa from severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1994.

Tsai told a press conference -- his first since taking over the country's top intelligence agency last fall -- that he was angered by the reports on the bureau's secret funds.

Tsai said the NSB plans to take legal action against the China Times, since its reports have greatly affected the security of the country.

Similar allegations have also been made by Next magazine which had copies of its latest issue confiscated over possible national security breaches yesterday.

The China Times claims its report is based on information provided by ex-NSB chief cashier Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), who fled the country in 2000 after he was found to have embezzled nearly NT$200 million from a secret bureau fund, according to NSB investigations.

Next has so far refused to reveal where its information came from.

The bureau said it sought to find out from Next whether the classified materials that it possesses are photocopies of original documents in Liu's keeping.

Tsai did not explain why the two news organizations were treated differently even though they are considered to have committed the same offense.

However, he condemned both of them.

"The president can be fully justified if he adopts `special means' to enlarge the country's space in the international community."

"These two news organizations have caused great damage to the security of the country. The country's intelligence agents behind enemy lines as well as relations with diplomatic allies will be adversely affected," he said.

Tsai warned other news organizations against possessing or printing any classified information regarding national security.

"We will take legal action if our advice is not listened to," he said.

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