Japan's Air Force One Blunder
The U.S. has reportedly filed a protest with the Japanese government after learning that a Japanese air traffic controller posted, online, details of the U.S. President's November 2010 flight plan in the region. The information is said to include two pages of details that the controller apparently made available through his blog. Details reportedly included speeds, altitudes, route of flight and pictures of computer screens -- the last of which may present information in a manner difficult for a layman to understand. Precise information about when that information was posted online (before or after Obama's visit) has not been made available. The controller has also allegedly posted other information about U.S. activities, raising larger concerns about the controllers' union and management.
The name of the controller has been withheld but he is described as "in his 50s" and a "chief air traffic controller" who had worked at Haneda Airport for 30 consecutive years. And that, in itself, is unusual. Questions have now been raised about how the controller was able to stay at one airport so long when most are rotated to different locations. Concerns have also arisen about how his longevity at the airport may have helped enable him to perform acts like snapping pictures of computer screens without being questioned or stopped. Aside from information about Air Force One, the controller also posted information about U.S. drone flights near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Drone flights were conducted after the plant was crippled during the devastating earthquake and tsunami suffered by Japan in March. According to the Japanese ministry of transport, the purpose of the posting was not to cause risk to the president, but to impress friends. The controller may face charges of leaking national secrets.