Information about military movements in Iraq ends up on Internet
NAHA, Okinawa — Japanese officials confirmed Thursday that information about U.S. and coalition military movements in Iraq were broadcast by mistake on the Internet.
The leaked information originated with a Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces second lieutenant deployed to Iraq and now assigned to the JASDF’s Naha Air Base, Japanese media reported. Police seized the lieutenant’s personal computer Wednesday.
“We learned that information was leaked on the Internet through a privately owned computer, which was infected with a virus through Winny, a file-sharing program,” a JASDF spokesman told Stars and Stripes.
According to Japanese media reports, part of the leaked information contained U.S. Central Command documents describing quantities of supplies airlifted from U.S. military bases in Iraq, Kuwait and other countries.
An investigation was launched after the data was posted on an Internet bulletin board. Officials at JASDF headquarters in Tokyo were guarded in their response to the news reports.
“As far as the content of the leaked material, we will refrain from making any comment because there is a risk of encouraging further research and, consequently, further spread of the information,” said Maj. Kazutomo Takahashi of the JASDF public affairs office.
He said the agency believed the information was spread on the Internet Nov. 24.
“However, the data was no longer considered classified,” he added. “So we do not think that it would cause any immediate or direct harm. The case is presently being closely investigated.”
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki on Thursday called on the Defense Agency to take “firm steps” to prevent a recurrence.
“Although the information leaked on the Internet did not contain anything that was under any classified category, the fact that such incident occurred itself is extremely regrettable,” Shiozaki said at a news conference. “To properly maintain confidential information is not only the basis of security for our nation, but also a matter that affects relations of mutual trust with our allies.”
In June, the agency punished 47 personnel in the air, maritime and ground self-defense forces over six separate information leakage incidents, Takahashi said. In all of the cases, the information was leaked from home computers.