Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Last Month Crazies Begin in Taipei: Guns of Navarone version

The Taipei mayor campaign was awarded the coveted "-gate" suffix yesterday as the Ko campaign team claimed to discover a bug in its offices... reports (link to this site, it's wonderful):
During an interview with the media at 2:13 am Nov. 5, campaign spokesperson [and Taipei City Councilor] Chien Yu-yen indicated that a black wire—a telephone jumper cable known colloquially as a “rat tail”—had been discovered in its third-floor telephone switchboard. The office is unclear where the wire connects to, and it will file a report to the police because the campaign’s internal information has already been leaked multiple times.
Chien said that the office’s policy department has already been doing routine inspections, but it became very suspicious after [opponent] Sean Lien’s campaign chief Alex Tsai (a national legislator) published Ko’s future schedule a few days ago. Hence, last night from 10 to 11 pm the office did another inspection and found the suspicious wire. At 11:47 pm, Chien reported the case to the Da-an district chief of police, who arrived on the scene some 20 minutes later. However, because he did not have sufficient equipment to investigate further, the details of the case are not yet clear.
Chien pointed out that “rat tails” are typically connected to audio recording devices, but such a device has not yet been found. She also asked why the jumper cable connected to the third floor and not Ko’s other office on the ninth. The police must investigate further, she concluded. Ko campaign policy director Chang Jing-sen will file a written report.
The police came and found nothing, of course, as the pro-government media gleefully reported. The rat tail was probably left by some previous denizen of the office who was jacking himself some free telephone service in the finest Taiwan style and is not some dire signal that the Lien campaign is listening to the Ko campaign's conversations.

It is not difficult to imagine how the Lien campaign got hold of the Ko campaign's schedule, if the internal security of the Ko campaign is as comic-opera as its publicity apparatus. There's perhaps a mole within the campaign staff, or even more likely, the police with whom the Ko campaign must file an appearance schedule so they can provide security are leaking it. Or someone described it to an outside friend who leaked it and now doesn't want to admit it.

In any case calling a 2 AM presser to announce allegations you can't prove is a really stupid move. It makes one look amatuerish. Perhaps it was intended as a signal to someone to stop leaking campaign information; if so, it was a remarkably clumsy one. The best thing to do would have been to have the "rat tail" privately traced while denying that anything untoward had been found. Having a presser to whine that one is bugged is something only a loser does, and Taiwanese hate losers. I suspect that this will cost Ko votes.

The Ko campaign suddenly looks a lot like the Germans at the end of The Guns of Navarone, finding a rat tail inside the great guns atop the cliff... and then having it expire with a little whine, a joke on them. Not funny, Ko people.
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1 comment:

les said...

It's also unlikely that anyone on the staff would have read the entire list of planned consultants out over the phone. You'd email or fax such a list. Ko's campaign team has a leak, or several leaks.
I'd turn this around and push the theme of open and transparent governance by offering to answer any questions in full. If the Lien team wants to know anything, they should just call and ask. No need for bugs or spies.