When it comes to intelligence matters, the past month has not been a good one for the defense establishment, with at least two instances (that we know) of military intelligence being leaked. From shredded documents obtained by the media to Navy officers copying classified material for access on insecure systems at home, the ramifications of such shoddy handling of secrets are manifold.
The most obvious consequence of these leaks is that it increases the chances that the enemy will get its hands on the material and thereby gain a military advantage. Minutes of meetings, orders of battle and contracts with foreign militaries -- all, if they end up in the wrong hands, can be detrimental to the security of a nation. They facilitate treason and can also subject individuals to blackmail.
A second area that can suffer from security lapses is ties with allied militaries. If a nation cannot be trusted with secrets, its allies will be hesitant to pass on classified material for fear it will be accessed by the wrong people. Alliances are based on trust and sometimes classification isn't only a product of what is told or shown in a document but rather of the sharing itself not being for public consumption. In other words, sometimes allies do not want the rest of the world to know that an alliance exists.
If leaks occur on a frequent basis and a nation's allies do not perceive that the problem is being addressed, chances are the latter will consider ending cooperation on intelligence and perhaps even on the sale of advanced weapons that, if mishandled, could result in technology transfer.
Leaks can also jeopardize sources -- electronic and human -- as well as collection methods and obviate years of efforts, an outcome that is all the more serious when the product comes from a foreign agency that does not want its expenditures in time and money to go down the drain as a result of irresponsible handling by an ally.
Lastly, news of intelligence leaks undermine public confidence in the state's ability to defend itself, giving rise to fears of institutional ineptitude or, perhaps worse, that the authorities simply do not take their responsibilities seriously. It can also give the enemy a psychological advantage, if not prompt it to act on the assumed weakness of its opponent. All in all, this is not the image the defense establishment wants to project.
Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (
In many countries, even recruits caught taking home mock classified documents used for training purposes are not given a second chance -- they are fired on the spot. Leaks, willful or otherwise, are a career-ender. They don't result in transfer from one department to another, or in mere reprimand.
How defense and intelligence apparatuses handle classified material has very little to do with secure computer systems, firewalls and shredders. Dependable agencies have in place institutional ethics that make leaks exceptional events warranting serious action, not an almost routine occurrence that make onlookers shake their heads and wait for the next one to happen.
Heads must roll, Mr. Lee. Plug the hole.
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,
During a news conference in Vietnam on Sept. 10, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. Biden replied that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is too busy handling major domestic economic problems to launch an invasion of Taiwan. On Wednesday last week, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published a document outlining 21 measures to make the Chinese-controlled Fujian Province into a demonstration zone for relations with Taiwan. The planned measures would expand favorable treatment for Taiwanese people and companies, and seek to attract people from Taiwan to buy property and seek employment in Fujian.
More than 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels and aircraft were detected making incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday and Monday, the Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday. The ministry responded to the incursions by calling on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” saying that Beijing’s actions could “easily lead to a sharp escalation in tensions and worsen regional security.” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that the unusually high number of incursions over such a short time was likely Beijing’s response to efforts