National Security Bureau

National Security Bureau

The National Security Bureau (NSB; Chinese: 國家安全局) is the principal intelligence agency of the Republic of China (Taiwan), including military intelligence.



The organization was created in 1955 by a ROC Presidential Directive from Chiang Kai-shek, to supervise and coordinate all security-related administrative organizations, military agencies and KMT organizations in Taiwan. Earlier, the bureau was nicknamed "Taiwan's KGB" or "TKGB".

The first Director-General of National Security Bureau was an army three-star general Cheng Jie-min (zh:鄭介民), with a background in military intelligence, who once was the deputy of the controversial Bureau of Investigation and Statistics of the National Military Council. (The "Military-Statistics Bureau" (zh:軍統) served under Dai Li (zh:戴笠), and even assumed command the "Military-Statistics Bureau" after the death of Dai Li in March 1946. As a result, the National Security Bureau is often seen as one of several successors to the Military-Statistics Bureau.)

Initially, National Security Bureau did not have its own field officers or operatives. However, in order to strengthen its ability to guide and coordinate other intelligence agencies, NSB soon developed its own field intelligence officers and training pool.


On 1 January 1994, shortly after the respective organic laws of the National Security Council and NSB were promulgated by the order of the ROC President Lee Teng-hui on 30 December 1993, the National Security Bureau became a legal institution.

Recent events

Though a few known intelligence failures of the National Security Bureau have surfaced in recent years, supporters have pointed out that the agency rarely, if ever, publicizes any successful operations.

On 1 June 2000, a former NSB official[1] who was a retired one-star army general made a personal visit to the PRC and was detained three days later by the PRC Ministry of State Security.

A former chief cashier of NSB, Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), was suspected of embezzling more than NT$192 million (US$5.65 million) from a batch of money returned from Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 4 April 1999. According to the National Bureau of Investigation, Ministry of Justice, Liu left the country on 3 September 2000, for Shanghai, PRC. He reappeared in Bangkok in January 2002 and then went to North America. Liu is still on the run[2].

In the afternoon of 19 March 2004, President Chen Shui-bian (zh:陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (zh:呂秀蓮) were wounded by gunfire on the day before the presidential election, while they were campaigning on the streets of Tainan City. This failed assassination attempt, so called 3-19 shooting incident, caused shocks in Taiwan, including a serious personnel review in the community of intelligence and security. Nine officials were impeached for dereliction of duty by the Control Yuan[3]. Among those were former National Security Bureau (NSB) chief Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明), former deputy chief of the NSB special service center Chiu Chung-nan (邱忠男). The Control Yuan said in an impeachment report that the National Security Bureau had received information on 18 March 2004 about a possible attack on the president, but did not take the intelligence seriously[4].

In 2004, former US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald W. Keyser has been arrested by the FBI for illegally handing over documents to two Taiwanese NSB officials who served as intelligence liaison officers in USA. Immediately, the director general of NSB, General Hsueh Shih-ming (zh:薛石民), had recalled crucial intelligence agents from the United States[5].

The loyalty of NSB officials to the DPP administration is constantly questioned. Traditionally, career personnel of law enforcement, intelligence agencies, military organizations in Taiwan are labeled as pro-KMT or pan-blue because most of them have been life-long KMT members. However, National Security Bureau has been attacked by the opposition parties, including KMT and PFP, for alleged power abuse under the DPP administration. Despite statements from several NSB Directors General on the political neutrality of the organization, some controversial events have still occurred.

In 2004, Chen Feng-lin (陳鳳麟), a colonel of the National Security Bureau's Special Service Center's logistics department confessed[6] that he leaked classified information regarding security measures at President Chen Shui-bian's (zh:陳水扁) residence as well as the president's itinerary to Peng Tzu-wen (彭子文), a former director of the center who retired as a major general. Peng, a retired one-star general, revealed on TV that he would not "take a bullet for President Chen." In August 2005, Peng Tzu-wen was indicted[7] for leaking national secrets on TV and for potentially putting President Chen Shui-bian's (zh:陳水扁) life in jeopardy.


The National Security Bureau is subordinate to the National Security Council. Under the chain of command, the National Security Council is under the direct administration of the President. However, the Director-General of the National Security Bureau usually can and does report directly to the President, bypassing the NSC.


Traditionally, the successive bureau chiefs were exclusively military officers with the rank of three-star general, though this has changed in recent years. In 2003, President Chen Shui-bian appointed Wang Jim-wong(王進旺), a former Director-General of National Police Agency with a career police background, to the post of NSB Deputy Director-General. In 2007, Hsu Hui-you(許惠佑), a former judge from the Taipei district court, former Director-General of the Coast Guard Administration, and at the time the Deputy Director-General of NSB, replaced a three-star army general (Hsueh Shi-ming) as the first civilian Director-General of National Security Bureau.

Field Divisions

As result of institutionalizing operations, the NSB now has six intelligence-related divisions --

  1. International intelligence
  2. Intelligence within the area of People's Republic of China
  3. Intelligence within the area of Taiwan
  4. Analysis of the nation's strategic intelligence
  5. Scientific and technological intelligence and telecommunications security
  6. Control and development of secret codes and facilities


Also, there are three centers:

  1. Special Service Command Center: Presidential Security and Protection
  2. Telecommunication Technology Center (Code Name: Breeze Garden, or zh:清風園)
  3. Training Center


This is also a special feature of the NSB since martial law was lifted. In addition to managing intelligence relevant to national security, it also takes charge of planning special tasks and is responsible for guiding, coordinating, and supporting the intelligence affairs in military and civil categories:


The Military Intelligence Bureau, General Staff Headquarters, Ministry of National Defense (MND)
Office of Telecommunication Development, General Staff Headquarters, Ministry of National Defense (MND)
The General Political Warfare Bureau, Ministry of National Defense (MND)
The Military Security General Corps, General Staff Headquarters, MND (Formerly, the Counter Intelligence General Corps of General Political Warfare Bureau, NMD)[8]
The Military Police Command, Ministry of National Defense (MND)


The National Police Agency of the Ministry of the Interior
The National Immigration Agency of the Ministry of the Interior
Bureau of Investigation of the Ministry of Justice
The Coast Guard Administration of Executive Yuan.


External links

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