Government bodies interfering in elections, was President Ma really not aware?

The document on the right is an official document by the Investigation Bureau highlighting Tsai Ing-wen’s activities. The monitoring was made on Aug. 2, 2011, when Tsai Ing-wen did not even register officially with the Central Election Commission as candidate for president. The second arrow points toward the explanation in the report where it estimates the amount of votes attending such an activity would attract.

On Dec. 29, DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen held a press conference to express her concern regarding the Next Media report involving national intelligence officials gathering information illegally about her campaign activities. Below are the main parts of her speech translated into English:

“It is a very serious issue when in any democratic country, the leader or the governing political party employs government bodies - especially national intelligence bodies – to interfere in elections. Now, the media has exposed that the National Security Council and the Investigation Bureau has intervened into this election.

“It is not appropriate when the secretary general of the National Security Council, who receives orders from the president, acts beyond his authority by attending a National Security Bureau meeting. Additionally, it is not appropriate to send National Security Council representatives to attend information meetings at the Investigation Bureau.

“Furthermore, the Investigation Bureau used official documents to direct their frontline agents to monitor candidates of opposition parties, in addition to giving them incentives through their performance evaluations. If these accusations turn out to be true, the seriousness of this issue surpasses that of the US’ Watergate Scandal.

“The media has revealed from Investigation Bureau files that besides reporting on the times, locations and people attending Tsai Ing-wen’s activities, they also had to estimate the amount of votes these activities would attract. It is preposterous to label these illegal actions as measures to provide security for presidential candidates. For the security protection of Tsai Ing-wen, intelligence must be gathered on potential harms to the candidate. Why has the investigations turned toward my supporters, and towards assessing the number of votes these activities attract?

“The National Security Council is the national security body for the president, and the president must have either known or directed these actions. If already the conduct of the National Security Council has been covered by the media, how is it possible for the president not to know? If he didn’t know about it, he is incompetent, and if he did know about it, he is lying.

“I would like to emphasize once again the gravity and seriousness of the situation when the leader or the governing political party of a democratic country employs government bodies - especially national intelligence bodies – to interfere in elections. The contents published in the media already represent a constitutional crisis and whether the president has abused his executive powers. Even more, this has damaged the image of our democracy. The president must immediately offer an explanation to the public, and he can neither escape the problem nor the responsibility.

“On the other hand, if all facts point towards the involvement of the president, the national security bodies and the investigation units, a judicial investigation must start immediately. Since the Investigation Bureau has already admitted to the existence of these reported documents, they must all be immediately collected in order to avoid falsification of documents and destruction of evidence.”