Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Military to up its security with stricter clearance

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The military yesterday said that they are ready to implement a new, stricter clearance mechanism on personnel in charge of intelligence, high-tech information and high-profile administrative work to ensure their loyalty to the military and the country.

"A mechanism like this is crucial and necessary for us, since we have discovered more and more Chinese spies among us," said navy Captain Liou Chih-chien (劉志堅), spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense.

According to the new clearance mechanism, military personnel chosen to fill posts related to intelligence, high-tech information and high-profile administration will not be able to take their oath before completing clearance.

To complete the clearance, the applicant must fill out a detailed questionnaire that covers the applicant's background, family, and health records, and file the application for the clearance. Related intelligence agencies will then carry out any necessary investigation. When the clearance is completed, the applicant will receive an authorization and she or he will be able to start the new job.

In the meantime, the military is also working on a proposal to make the new clearance mechanism law.

"The new clearance mechanism is only to protect our classified information," Liou said. "It will not jeopardize the employment rights of our military staff ... For those who do not pass the clearance, the only difference is that we will not assign them to crucial spots. We will not relieve them [of their previous duties]. That's all. In addition, we will notify the applicant of the result of her or his clearance."

Liou stressed that the clearance is strictly intended to protect national security and has nothing to do with politics.

"We do not really care what political party the applicant belongs to," Liou said. "What we care about is whether the person might leak classified information."

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