Friday, April 13, 2012

Amateur hour on national security

Yet more signs that Ma administration officials underestimate, or are not taking seriously enough, the threat posed by Chinese espionage

The revelation this week that Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), the former head of the nation’s representative office in Kansas City, Missouri, hired a Chinese national as a housekeeper late last year after her second Philippine maid had fled is as sad as it is worrying. What it is not, though, is surprising, given how lax this administration has become on national security.

As if the alleged mistreatment of two housemaids, which sullied the nation’s image abroad, were not enough, Liu also broke Ministry of Foreign Affairs regulations by hiring Xie Dengfeng (謝登鳳), a Chinese national, and concealing Xie’s identity from the ministry. Such actions could have endangered national security.

In her defense, the embattled Liu says she was unaware of the ministry regulations on hiring Chinese nationals. It is hard to imagine which possibility is worse — that she is lying, or that she was indeed unaware of the rules, which raises serious questions about internal security and counterintelligence at the ministry.

As any Taiwanese official should know, the Chinese intelligence apparatus is monitoring Taiwanese diplomatic missions abroad, and there is no reason to believe that the office in Kansas was any different.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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