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South Korean Printed and Internet Media Reporting: A Counterintelligence Challenge

South Korean Printed and Internet Media Reporting: A Counterintelligence Challenge

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Published by saber_fencer
Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “…if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.” Everyday, we devote tremendous amount of resource and effort to understand both ourselves and those around us. Open source analysis is one of the methods we use to achieve this goal. As we conduct open source analysis, we often come across information that may be deemed sensitive, especially to US Forces Korea (USFK), or ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC); some of this information may even be of intelligence value to a well-trained hostile. This article examines precisely these challenges today’s major South Korean printed and internet media outlets pose on USFK and CFC.
Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “…if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.” Everyday, we devote tremendous amount of resource and effort to understand both ourselves and those around us. Open source analysis is one of the methods we use to achieve this goal. As we conduct open source analysis, we often come across information that may be deemed sensitive, especially to US Forces Korea (USFK), or ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC); some of this information may even be of intelligence value to a well-trained hostile. This article examines precisely these challenges today’s major South Korean printed and internet media outlets pose on USFK and CFC.

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Published by: saber_fencer on May 08, 2009
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UNCLASSIFIEDUNCLASSIFIED
(U)
 
South Korean Printed and Internet Media Reporting: A Counterintelligence Challenge
 
 
(U)Introduction
: Sun Tzu wrote in
The Art of War 
, “…if you know your enemies and knowyourself, you will fight without danger in battles. If you only know yourself, but not youropponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you willalways endanger yourself.” Everyday, we devote tremendous amount of resource andeffort to understand both ourselves and those around us. Open source analysis is one ofthe methods we use to achieve this goal. As we conduct open source analysis, we oftencome across information that may be deemed sensitive, especially to US Forces Korea(USFK), or ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC); some of this information may evenbe of intelligence value to a well-trained hostile. This article examines precisely thesechallenges today’s major South Korean printed and internet media outlets pose on USFKand CFC. This article examined 13 major South Korean printed and internet news outlets – 
Dong-A Ilbo, Munhwa Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Hankyoreh News,Hankook Ilbo, Segye Ilbo,Kyunghyang Shinmun, No-Cut News, Ohmynews, Pressian,
and
 Mediatoday.co.kr 
. Of these outlets,
Dong-A Ilbo, Munhwa Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Hankyoreh, Hankook Ilbo, Segye Ilbo,
and
Kyunghyang Shinmun 
hasboth printed newspapers and internet sites.
No-Cut News, Ohmynews, Pressian,
and
 Mediatoday.co.kr 
only have internet sites.
 
(U)Political Biases of Sample Media:
This article analyzed reports related to USFK, CFC,and NK from 12 news outlets from 2001 – Dec 07.
No-Cut News 
was analyzed from 2005(based on its launch date). Based on this analysis, all 13 of the outlets were placed on achart where the X-axis represents pro- or anti-US bias and the Y-axis represents pro- or anti-NK bias. The analysisshowed that the
Chosun Ilbo, Munhwa Ilbo,
and
Dong-A Ilbo 
articles hadthe most pro-US and anti-NK biases where as thewritings of
Pressian 
hadthe most anti-US bias and
Ohmynews 
had the mostpro-NK bias.
 
UNCLASSIFIEDUNCLASSIFIED
 
(U)Research Results
: From 01 JAN 01 – 20 Dec 07, these outlets released 74,147 articlesrelated to USFK/CFC (Of these, 1,488 were about USFK/CFC OPLANs or CONPLANs, and22,075 were about USFK transformation). Most of the articles bore low intelligence value;however, some articles related to USFK/CFC transformation and OPLANs/CONPLANs boremoderate to moderately high intelligence value.
 
(U)USFK Transformation
: Articles and discussions on this subject could be largelydivided into two categories: USFK relocation USFK’s transformation. Some of thesubcategories discussed in these articles as a part of USFK relocation are issuesassociated with US base closings and return of closed bases to the ROK government.Some of the subjects discussed as a part of USFK transformation are issues such asstrategic flexibility, dissolution of CFC, necessity for OPLAN revisions, OPCON transfer,and transformation of USFK into Korea Command or KORCOM. Analyzing the 22,075articles written on the USFK transformation since 2001, contents of these articles do notseem to provide an immediate military intelligence value; however, they do seem to havemoderate political implications. The articles seem to have exposed certain sensitivesubjects that USFK andCFC may notnecessarily wanted tomake public, yet.These subjects includenecessity for OPLANrevisions and USFK’stransformation intoKORCOM. An “un-named defense official”is the most commonsource for thesearticles.
 
(U) USFK / CFC OPLANs
: Articles addressing USFK/CFC OPLANs or CONPLANs notonly mentioned the OPLAN/CONPLAN names, but their basic concepts as well. Somearticles even had easy to read charts that explained the difference between each of theUSFK/CFC OPLANs. A few trends became clear during this research: 1) outlets thatare pro-US or anti-NK actually write the most number of articles about USFK/CFCOPLANs, but they tend to talk about these OPLANs in generalities (their necessities,
 
UNCLASSIFIEDUNCLASSIFIED
strategic implications, etc.)as a part of a largerdiscussion about ROKnational security and ROK – US relations; 2) mediaoutlets that have anti-US orpro-NK biases publish lessnumber of articles aboutUSFK/CFC OPLANs, butthey are more detailed andfocused on the OPLANsthemselves; and 3) articlesrelated to OPLANs thatbore the most intelligencevalue were found on theinternet versions of theseoutlets under their OPEDor blog pages. As youcan see from the chartsand maps contained in thisreport (Charts 3-1 and 3-2;Maps 1 and 2), whileinformation contained inthese articles anddiscussion boards are notclassified, they are indeedsensitive. Release of thissort of information wouldcertainly have both militaryand political implicationsfrom the informationoperations perspective. Inthis sense, information ofthis type would certainly beof moderate to moderately

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