An air traffic controller from the Haneda Airport in Tokyo could face charges of leaking national secrets after blogging private American flight information, including Air Force One flight plans.
The air traffic controller, who was only identified as a man in his 50’s who works at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, posted 12 pages of sensitive information regarding American flight plans, such as those of a Global Hawk drone that gathered radiation readings near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
It also detailed flight plans of Air Force One during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia in November 2010, providing numerical data and a flight route. The flight details of Air Force One are kept secret in order to protect the president.
According to the Transportation Ministry, the man didn’t appear to have acted maliciously, but instead, just wanted to show his friends. He did not provide an explanation of the numbers or images on his blog, which would have been “largely incomprehensible to a layman.” Nevertheless, the ministry said the man could face charges of leaking national secrets and is currently being questioned.
Japanese officials are reportedly embarrassed by the security breach, and are worried that the U.S. will now question Japan’s ability to handle sensitive information. It reflects a similar episode in 2007 when a Japanese Navy officer was arrested for copying data about the U.S. Navy’s Aegis combat radar system onto CDs and giving them to fellow classmates at a naval school.
Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, said that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may apologize to President Obama during a meeting in New York this month.
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