The Taiwanese military yesterday was once again rocked by reports that one of its own had engaged in espionage for China, a little more than a year after a high-profile spy, who is now serving a life sentence, was arrested.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported that an air force captain surnamed Chiang (蔣), who worked at a “regional operations control center”in northern Taiwan, was believed to have passed on intelligence to China.
The report also claimed that Chiang’s uncle, who operates a business in China, had helped pass on the information obtained by Chiang, which reportedly included classified material on Taiwan’s early warning radar system, as well as E-2T/E-2K Hawkeye surveillance aircraft.
The report said Chiang had provided China with information about the 10-1E “Strong Net” — the nation’s air-defense command and control system.
Four regional operations control centers (ROCC), scattered across the nation, have been built in recent years to supplement the command-and-control functions of the Joint Air Operations Center on Toad Mountain (蟾蜍山) in southern Taipei, which is the principal operations body directing, controlling and executing air warning and air combat operations.
As part of the ongoing Anyu 4 program, Strong Net is in the process of being upgraded and expanded with the ROCCs, which will provide redundancy and survivability in the event of an attack. Two of the four ROCCs are believed to be located in Taipei, one on Toad Mountain and the other at the Taiwan Air Force General Headquarters in the northern part of the city.
The Taipei Times has since learned that Chiang did not work specifically at an ROCC, but did so at a site in northern Taipei that performs similar functions.
Ministry of National Defense spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) yesterday said that the suspect had been detained and turned over to military prosecutors for investigation, adding that measures had been taken to deal with the information leak to prevent it from having a serious impact on the nation’s security.
“The situation is not as serious as described in the report,” Lo said.
At the rank of captain, Chiang is unlikely to have had high enough a security clearance to access highly classified material.
Lo said the high-profile arrest early last year of army general Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), who had been spying for China since 2004, had prompted the military to enhance its counterintelligence capabilities, which may have contributed to the early detection of Chiang’s suspicious behavior.
Some of the information the general is believed to have passed to his Chinese handlers pertained to the nation’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, a main target of Chinese intelligence over the years.
Ko-suen “Bill” Moo (慕可舜), a Taiwanese businessman who was arrested by US federal agents in Miami in 2005 for attempting to ship sensitive military technology to China, and who was sent back to Taiwan last year, was reportedly involved in the Anyu 4 program when he worked as a contractor for defense firms in Taiwan.
Additional reporting by CNA