Did King Pu-tsung Really Violate the Constitution and Abuse his Authority?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 13, 2014
Summary: The National Security Council Secretary-General is the President's most important advisor on national security matters. He must help the president collect accurate national security information, thereby enabling the president to form accurate judgments and arrive at the proper decisions. This is not for the president alone. This is also in the interest of national security as a whole. King Pu-tsung attended national security briefings. The DPP has launched a political offensive against King in response. The truth is this is all about the election. The Office of the President need not bend over backwards to respond. The public should trust its own judgment. It is not obligated to dance to the DPP's tune.
Full Text Below:
National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung received briefings from the National Police Agency, the Bureau of Investigation, the Immigration Department and other agencies. The DPP and green media have blasted him for this, and accused him of unconstitutional abuse of power. King Pu-tsung is hardly the first National Security Council Secretary-General to inspect the National Police Agency and other government agencies. Before him, two National Security Council Secretary Generals, Hu Wei-chen and Yuan Chien-sheng, paid visits to these agencies, Hu Wei-cheng and Yuan Chien-sheng have remain unmolested. But King Pu-tsung, who merely followed their precedent, has been singled out for persecution. Why?
Of course there are political factors. One, King Pu-tsung is part of Ma Ying-jeou's braintrust. A blow against King Pu-tsung amounts to a blow against Ma Ying-jeou. Two, King Pu-tsung helped Ma Ying-jeou win four election campaigns. He defeated Chen Shui-bian, Lee Ying-yuan, Frank Hsieh, and Tsai Ing-wen. All four were key players. He was responsible for the DPP's loss of power. Of course the green camp has a grudge against King Pu-tsung.
Political motives are easy to understand. But what concerns us here is whether King Pu-tsung's briefings from these security and intelligence agencies should be considered an unconstitutional abuse of authority?
This question can be viewed from two perspectives: practice and jurisprudence. First take practice. On November 10, 2005, National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen convened party and government leaders. He organized them into a campaign committee for DPP county chief and city mayor elections. He then presided over its first working session. On March 6, 2003 National Security Council Secretary-General Kang Ning-hsiang met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien, who briefed him on the progress of the Lafayette Frigate scandal investigation. That afternoon he visited the Ministry of Justice. On August 3, 2007, National Security Council Secretary-General Mark Chen investigated Kinmen's three mini links. He said national security considerations required him to assess whether the three mini links had any room for improvement.
The truth is clear to see. If King Pu-tsung was guilty of unconstitutional abuse of authority, then so were King's three DPP era predecessors. If anything, it is far more likely that they were guilty of unconstitutional abuse of authority.
In the first instance, National Security Council Secretary General Chiou I-jen presided over an election campaign. This was an astonishing abuse of authority. In the second and third instances, the issue was job responsibility. Kang Ning-hsiang visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. Mark Chen visited Kinmen and investigaged the three mini links. Not one of these concerned national security. Not one of these were the responsibility of security and intelligence agencies. King Pu-tsung's investigation, by contrast, had a definite bearing on national security. It had far more to do with security and intelligence matters than the former two instances.
Now take jurisprudence. Legally speaking, there are three reasons why King Pu-tsung cannot be accused of abusing his authority. One. According to constitutional amendments and the National Security Council Organization Law, the National Security Council is the president's advisory body for matters pertaining to national security and the president's major policies. Two. According to Article Two part one of the Organic Law of the National Security Bureau, the NSA is part of the National Security Council. It is in charge of national security intelligence and is specially charged with planning and implementation. Three. According to Article Two part two of the Organic Law of the National Security Bureau, the Intelligence Bureau, the Coast Guard, the National Police Agency, the Bureau of Investigation, and other intelligence agencies charged with national security, are responsible for providing integrated guidance, coordination, and support. Therefore the National Security Council Secretary-General, via the National Security Council under the National Security Bureau, has the authority to provide "integrated guidance" to the National Police Agency, the Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.
What is the legal reasoning of those who accuse King Pu-tsung of abusing his authority? One. According to the provisions of the Organic Law of the National Security Council, the National Security Council is chaired by the President, not the National Security Council Secretary-General. The right to inspect security intelligence agencies belongs to the president, not the National Security Council Secretary-General. Two. According to Article VI of the Organic Law of the National Security Council, the National Security Council Secretary-General takes its orders from the President. It resolves its own affairs accordingly. It commands and supervises its own staff. King's accusers define "council affairs" narrowly. They argue that the National Security Council Secretary-General can only inspect the National Security Council. He may not visit other agencies to receive briefings, even under presidential orders.
But if one adopts such a narrow interpretation, then King Pu-tsung is hardly the only National Security Council Secretary-General guilty of unconstitutional abuse of authority, Kang Ning-hsiang visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. Mark Chen had no right to visit Kinmen and investigate the three mini links. Such a narrow interpretation radically diminishes the role of the , National Security Council Secretary-General. It hinders the head of state from gathering information necessary to form accurate judgments about national security matters. The president has a surfeit of national policy concerns. Must he personally oversee all national security matters? Must he listen to every presentation? That is hardly consistent with the role of the National Security Council as the president's chief advisory body for national security matters.
A far more reasonable interpetation is that King Pu-tsung answers to the president by attending security and intelligence agency briefings, thereby helping the president collect information. The National Security Council is merely an advisory body. King Pu-tsung merely gathered information and briefed the President. The final decision and the issuing of any directives must still be done by the president himself.
Major decisions pertaining to national security require adequate information. Otherwise one is crossing the river blindfolded. The National Security Council Secretary-General is the President's most important advisor on national security matters. He must help the president collect accurate national security information, thereby enabling the president to form accurate judgments and arrive at the proper decisions. This is not for the president alone. This is also in the interest of national security as a whole. King Pu-tsung attended national security briefings. The DPP has launchd a political offensive against King in response. The truth is this is all about the election. The Office of the President need not bend over backwards to respond. The public should trust its own judgment. It is not obligated to dance to the DPP's tune.