Taipei, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Friday issued a statement denying media reports that had accused opposition Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Wu Sz-huai (???) of requesting confidential files related to national security, following a public appeal by the lawmaker to set the record straight.
On Thursday, local media published unsourced reports claiming that Wu had sought a "large volume of intelligence materials" from the ministry in recent days, including information on troop deployments and the personnel and budgeting records of secret cyberwarfare units.
The reports said Wu's insistence on receiving the files, despite his lack of committee assignments relating to defense or foreign affairs, had "raised suspicions" of those involved.
At a KMT gathering on Friday, Wu said none of the information he had requested was classified. He suggested that the negative reports had been leaked by the defense ministry, in an act that he said disrespected the governing powers of the legislature.
He called on the MND to publicly refute the reports, saying the responsibility to issue a correction lay with them.
In a short statement on Friday afternoon, the ministry said it had provided Wu with publicly-available information taken from national defense reports, the MND's website and Legislative Yuan records, while noting that lawmakers are authorized to make such requests in accordance with the legislature's oversight role.
Within the legislature, reaction to the controversy largely split along party lines.
On the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) side, legislator Wang Ting-yu (???) said he didn't understand why Wu required information that was not relevant to his committee assignments, and said he and the KMT should "try to understand why that concerns people."
KMT legislator Lin Yi-hua (???), meanwhile, said lawmakers are entitled to participate in interpellation hearings even in committees they don't belong to, and attributed the reports to political maneuvering.
Wu, a former army general and anti-pension reform activist who was placed fourth on the KMT's at-large legislator list in the 2020 election, has been widely criticized for his attendance at a Chinese government event commemorating the founding father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen (???), in 2016.
In the run-up to that election, he was the subject of a "Remove Wu Sz-huai" campaign led by DPP legislative candidate Enoch Wu (???), which sought to mobilize public opinion against Wu Sz-huai's perceived pro-China views.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel