Intelligence: Japan Plugs Aegis Leak

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December 16, 2007: Japan has arrested a naval officer (a 34 year old Lieutenant Commander) and charged him with being responsible for a leak of U.S. Aegis radar secrets. This particular leak has been a major problem for Japan, as it has made the U.S. less willing to sell Japan other high tech systems (like the F-22).

Last Summer, the United States, fearing Japan was unable to keep American technology secrets, halted the shipment of parts needed to upgrade the Aegis radar in the Japanese destroyer Kongo. The upgrade would make the Kongo capable of firing U.S. anti-missile missiles. It all began last March, when it was discovered that details of the U.S. Aegis naval air defense system have been copied and passed around a Japanese Navy school.

The security leak was only discovered when the home of a petty officer, who worked at the school, was raided. The police were investigating the man's wife, a Chinese woman whose immigration status was suspect. During the course of the raid, the Aegis CD was found, someone checked to see if the data on it was classified, and it was. Things went downhill from there, as it was discovered how long ago the suspect CD had been created, and how many copies were out there (no one knew for sure.)

The naval officer recently arrested is apparently the source of the CD that got into wide circulation. He made the CD, loading it with classified data, and sent it to another officer who was an instructor at a navy school. That officer then copied and circulated the CD, not realizing it was full of top secret stuff. That was a major lapse in security, but no one noticed it for over four years. Like most Japanese military schools, the students assumed that most of what they learned was useful to potential enemies, and should be kept away from civilians and foreigners. But the CD was copied again and again, and was even given to some students, who then took it with them when they left the school.

Japan has always been strict about American military technology it has been entrusted with, but this is a major embarrassment. Japan is currently trying to convince the United States to sell it F-22 fighters, which contain even more valuable military secrets. While the U.S. soon allowed the parts for the Kongo to be shipped, after Japan had agreed to American suggestions for improving security of military technology, there is fear that other intel leaks exist in Japan.

 


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