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Nason party official arrested for leaking state secrets to friends

A veteran of the Reconnaissance General Bureau who worked for the Nason Party Committee was recently arrested for leaking state secrets, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a source in North Hamgyong Province said last Thursday that the man was arrested by security officials in mid-February after drunkenly discussing military secrets in public.

The individual had been deployed overseas during his time with the General Reconnaissance Bureau. After his discharge, he graduated from a Workers’ Party school and was sent to work for the Nason Party Committee.

During the Lunar New Year holiday, he was drinking with several people at a friend’s house when he allegedly said that “the money the state used to make nuclear weapons was earned by workers working overseas in places like China and Russia” and that “the state says it got money from Russia, but in fact, the funds were stolen through computer hacking.”

He also said that North Korea was “the best country at computer hacking, committing about half of the world’s hacking incidents” and that “many Reconnaissance General Bureau soldiers who are good at hacking have received commendations or letters of thanks from Kim Jong Un, or have been awarded Hero of the Republic medals.”

Since the Ministry of State Security directly managed the man when he was in the Reconnaissance General Bureau, it kept tabs on him and his close friends through its local branch in Nason. One of the friends he was drinking with that day was assigned to watch him and then informed on him, which led to the man’s arrest.

The man’s family was also put into a car and driven away. Since their whereabouts are unknown, they were presumably sent to a political prison camp.

“The other people who drank with him were also called to the city branch of the Ministry of State Security to write letters of self-criticism for several days,” the source said. “The city branch of the Ministry of State Security gave them ideological indoctrination, telling them that leaking important military secrets is an anti-party and anti-state act punishable by law and that everything he said was false propaganda that they shouldn’t be fooled by.”

 

Article 90 of North Korea’s criminal code, which was amended in 2015, calls for up to a year of forced labor for people who leak secrets related to national security. People who leak important secrets face up to five years in a re-education camp. In serious cases, offenders face five to 10 years of reeducation.

North Korea enacted the State Secrets Protection Law last year, which intensified punishments against those who leak state secrets. In December, Daily NK reported that many of the law’s violators were state security officials.

As rumors of the incident spread through Nason, thanks to local party committee officials and the city’s branch of the Ministry of State Security, curious locals asked, “What the heck is hacking?” and “How can you use it to steal money?”

“When they arrested the man for leaking secrets and sent his family away, the authorities sparked more rumors, and previously ignorant locals now say that North Korea is ‘one of the top countries in the world at cybertheft,’” the source said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Views expressed in this guest column do not necessarily reflect those of Daily NK. Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

March 05, 2024 at 01:00PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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