Following years of criticism of the quality of intelligence gathered by the government’s various intelligence agencies, the National Security Bureau (NSB) recently decided to offer awards as an incentive to groups and individuals involved in intelligence gathering in an effort to improve the state of affairs and raise morale in the services.
Although the award is to be limited to NT$10 million (US$326,000) for groups and NT$5 million for individuals, the bureau said that anyone providing intelligence resulting in a major contribution to national security could be eligible for an additional award, if given presidential approval.
According to NSB sources, the newly drafted Regulation Governing Awards for National Intelligence Services (國家情報工作獎勵辦法) — which is to replace the regulations governing national -intelligence-gathering evaluation and performance incentives — clarifies the way in which incentives are to be awarded to members of the intelligence services, specifying limits on award payments for the first time. The draft suggested that these limits are to be set by each agency as part of their internal budget, and not by the NSB.
Pang Ta-wei (龐大為), a former deputy section chief of the Ministry of National Defense’s Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB), recently criticized the current administration’s disregard for the MIB in an interview with Japanese press, alleging that the government’s attitude toward the MIB has raised questions as to the reason for maintaining the agency because in recent years the intelligence war with China has gradually been wound down.
The quality of intelligence provided by the intelligence agencies has also been criticized in recent years during the legislature’s annual budget review.
According to sources, the MIB has been forced to make changes to its operational procedures following a spate of arrests of Taiwanese intelligence personnel China, and this has had a negative impact on intelligence gathering in that country.
In a bid to improve morale within the service, National Security Bureau Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) has put forward a raft of proposals, with the Regulation Governing Awards for National Intelligence Services drafted to increase the level of incentives available, the sources said.
The new regulations contain a special provision allowing the award evaluation review committee to raise the level of awards, contingent on presidential approval, should intelligence contribute significantly to the maintenance of national security or furthering the national interest.
Meanwhile, the NSB also added the National Immigration Agency (NIA) to the list of agencies to which the new reward would apply.
A top NIA official said the reason for adding the NIA to the list was that many of its tasks were of a national intelligence nature. The NIA cooperates with other governments, exchanging anti--terrorist information and information on human trafficking, and has staff stationed overseas as well as in various cities and counties around Taiwan, the official said.
The official, who declined to be named, added that the NSB plans to amend the Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) so the NIA will be treated as an official intelligence agency, with the same legal status. If the act is amended, the number of such intelligence agencies in Taiwan will increase from nine to 10.