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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Military denies key to Taiwan's secrets sold to China

ROC Central News Agency

2011/07/16 17:38:15

Taipei, July 16 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) denied a report Saturday claiming that former Army major general Lo Hsien-che sold a scrambler used by Taiwan's intelligence services to China while he was posted in Thailand from 2002 to 2005.

"The case has been investigated, and there is no such thing," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Lo, a one-star general, was indicted by the Prosecutors' Office of the Military High Court in May on charges that included violating his duty to serve and to be loyal to the country.

The case is now being handled by the Military High Court, and after reviewing all of the evidence supporting the indictment, there was no evidence indicating any of the military's devices protecting Taiwan's secrets had ever been delivered to communist China.

The newspaper report, which said that "Lo Hsien-che sold a scrambler to communist China," was not factual, the statement said.

The MND declared that all equipment and devices related to the military's secrets were subject to a military communication security management system.

Under the system, security guards and secret units conduct inventory checks on the equipment on a regular basis.

Asked whether the intelligence Lo allegedly sold to China made it possible for the military's secret codes to be broken, MND spokesman Lo Shao-ho said the ministry was not in a position to comment on the case because it was still being tried in court.

The former Army major general was arrested in late January on charges of spying for China. He is believed to be the highest-ranking Taiwanese military officer to have been nabbed on espionage charges in nearly five decades.

On May 20, the military court asked for life imprisonment for Lo Hsien-che, who reportedly confessed to spying.

The Taipei-based China Times reported Saturday that investigators found that Lo reported the loss of a scrambler while posted in Thailand, leading the paper to conclude, "it's almost certain that Lo 'sold' the scrambler to communist China at a high price."

Because access to the scrambler would allow the user to break Taiwan's secret codes, the newspaper said that if China had it in its possession, it would pose a grave threat to the nation's security.

According to the report, an intelligence source revealed that in the espionage war between Taiwan and China, Taiwan's most valuable intelligence asset was not its plan to defend the security of the Taiwan Strait but the scramblers used to keep secrets safe.

"If they were put on the market, the prices must have been incredibly high. The buyers will just give you a blank check," the newspaper said.

It also said the scrambler Lo allegedly sold to China was an "An Ping No. 6" developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology -- a military-run research institute for national defense.

It is part of a series from An Ping No. 4 to An Ping No. 8, where the higher the number is, the higher the level of classified data.

The newspaper also said that An Ping-series scramblers are used on fax machines to turn document signals into illegible codes. In addition to the An Ping series, there are also the An Tung series used on cell phones and the An Hsuan system on computers, it said.

One major question in the minds of MND and national security authorities is how Lo could have been promoted to the position of general rather than being disciplined after he reported having lost such an important device, the report said. (By Luo Chu-tung and Elizabeth Hsu) enditem/ls

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