An air traffic controller in Japan leaked classified Air Force One flight plans of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Tokyo last year on his personal blog.
The incident, reported by the mass-circulation Yomiuri and other media, came to light amid a worldwide travel alert issued by the United States ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The reports said the controller, in his 50s, obtained the flight plans — detailing scheduled routes, transit times, and flight altitude — from computer screen shots he obtained while working at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
It is not clear whether the information was leaked before or after Obama flew from Seoul to Tokyo for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in November.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda “will have to apologize to President Obama” for the leak, at their first summit in New York later this month, Yomiuri quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying.
The controller reportedly also disclosed data on the US surveillance jet Global Hawk, which has flown above the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant several times since the March 11 tsunami triggered Japan’s nuclear crisis.
The controller has told investigators that he “wanted his friends to see” what he obtained, the Yomiuri and conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper said.
Japan’s air traffic authorities acknowledged the leak after an anonymous phone call on Monday alerted the “inappropriate posting of information”, Jiji Press said.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment.