Tue, Dec 07, 2010 - Page 3 News List

NSB confirms assembly of WikiLeaks task force

By Flora Wang and Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporters

A top National Security Bureau (NSB) official yesterday confirmed to the legislature that the bureau had set up a task force to respond to Taiwan-related leaks from the whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks, which in its latest release showed that Taiwan was on a list of countries that could be targeted by terror attacks.

NSB Deputy Director-General Lin Hui-yang (林惠陽) told the Foreign and National Defense Committee that the bureau had held meetings at frequent intervals and had established a cross-departmental mechanism to deal with leaks and mitigate their impact on national security and relations with other countries.

Chang Wei-ming (張蔚銘), an NSB section chief, said about 3,000 of the 250,000 documents obtained by WikiLeaks were related to Taiwan-US relations, 136 of which were allegedly classified as secret.

Chang said the bureau had been able to determine the nature of two documents, one on behavioral guidelines for officials at the American Institute in Taiwan and the other relating to US-Taiwan cooperation on weapons counterproliferation.

Although Chang declined to discuss details of the document on counterproliferation in the committee session out of confidentiality, he said he would brief legislators in private.

“In terms of cooperation on intelligence, none of the classified documents on our end or on the US end have been leaked,” Chang told Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀).

Asked in the legislature about the severity of the WikiLeaks release, Chang Wei-ming, director of international intelligence at the NSB, said Taiwan had received assurances from US intelligence officials that bilateral intelligence files were not compromised.

“On the issue of intelligence gathered through joint efforts, we have received repeated guarantees that they have not been leaked,” Chang said.

The presentation came as a secret document, which some observers said was the most controversial yet to be released by WikiLeaks and labeled by the UK’s Times newspaper as a “targets for terror” list, included several Taiwanese undersea cables and the nation’s largest port.

In its National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the US Department of State was shown to have identified six locations in Taiwan that it considers part of its critical infrastructure and resources located outside the US.

Their loss, the document says, could “impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the US.”

The undersea cables listed in the report were at Fangshan Township (枋山) in Pingtung County, Tamsui (淡水) and Bali (八里) in Taipei County and Toucheng Township (頭城) in Yilan County. Kaohsiung Harbor was also listed.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said the presence of those locations on the US’ National Infrastructure Protection Plan raised a number of concerns.

He said he was worried about the security of Taiwan’s military facilities as well as the nation’s relations with the US and China, adding that the recent leaks was “just the beginning.”

Playing down the threat, NSB section chief Kuo Tze-yung (郭自勇) said that like landlines and satellites, undersea cables were only a means of communication.

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