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President's phone probably not tapped: NSB chief

ROC Central News Agency

2013/10/28 20:18:28

President Ma Ying-jeou on telephone in 2010. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office)

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou should not fall victim to electronic eavesdropping as long as he uses communication tools provided by the National Security Bureau (NSB), Taiwan's intelligence chief said Monday.

'The possibility of President Ma falling victim to wiretapping is very low as long as he uses the encrypted mobile phone provided by the security bureau,' NSB Director-General Tsai De-sheng said at a hearing of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Tsai was responding to questions from opposition legislators about whether President Ma was among the foreign heads of state whose phone calls were listened to by the United States National Security Agency.

Foreign media reports said the U.S. agency had eavesdropped on the phone conversations of 35 foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

'We are not aware of the details related to the wiretapping accusations, but we are trying to get more information,' Tsai said.

During the session, opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim asked Tsai whether the NSB has any contingency measures prepared if a foreign country were to illegally wiretap senior Taiwanese officials' phone calls.

According to the United Evening News, Tsai answered that Taiwan should not be a primary target of U.S. wiretapping.

Besides providing President Ma with an encrypted cell phone, Tsai said, the NSB has installed encryption facilities at Taiwan's overseas representative offices and the residences of the heads of those offices.

Moreover, he said, the NSB has conducted regular checks on communication facilities at various government agencies to ensure communications security.

(By Claudia Liu and Sofia Wu)

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