Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Ma orders stepped-up security

SAFEGUARDS The Presidential Office said a task force was being set up to improve document, personnel and property management to strengthen security measures

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday ordered a new task force that is being set up to strengthen security at the Presidential Office to present a report within three months following a string of security breaches.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏), who will chair the new task force, said the group would be in charge of strengthening the “internal management mechanism” at the Presidential Office and would fall under the office's clean government committee.

The task force will focus on improving document, staffing and property management, Chan said, adding that he hoped to complete the report within the three months set by Ma.

Chan said the president also discussed the security issue with him, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and the Presidential Office's two deputy secretaries-general yesterday morning.

The decision came on the heels of recent security lapses at the Presidential Office.

The office confirmed on Tuesday that an unidentified woman in her 50s had sneaked into the Presidential Office building during Ma's overseas trip late last month and lingered for more than 30 minutes before being discovered.

The Presidential Office also described a Web surfer's recent discovery that Ma had prerecorded his weekly video addresses as a “security” problem.

An Internet user named XDite discovered that if users substituted the Web Site address of Ma's July 18 weekly video for the dates July 25 and Aug. 1, viewers could watch in advance Ma's online videos scheduled for the next two Saturdays.

The Presidential Office removed the two “futuristic” videos shortly after XDite's discovery. On Monday, it offered XDite a prize for her “keen observation.”

An outspoken pan-green supporter, Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如), told the media on Tuesday that XDite did not want to come out in public and had asked her too pick up the prize instead.

The Presidential Office said it hoped XDite would appear in person to gain a better understanding of her views.

Yesterday, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said the government had decided to mail the gift after receiving a cordially written e-mail from XDite.

Wang said the content of the e-mail was in stark contrast to Yang's claim that XDite had asked her to pick up the prize because XDite did not want the meeting with Ma to bring her bad luck.

In the e-mail Wang showed to reporters, XDite apologized for causing so much trouble and said she would be happy to accept the gift. She also gave her company address.

At a separate setting yesterday, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) questioned the lax security at the Presidential Office, saying it was easy to get in through the side doors of the building. She said “any person” could enter the building through the side doors near the hair salon or the canteen.

When asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said Chan and top officials at the National Security Council should take responsibility for the security lapses.

“Whoever is in charge of [the security measures inside the Presidential Office] should take responsibility,” Lo said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

Also See: EDITORIAL: Ma’s attempt at humor backfires

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