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Latino Daily News

Tuesday August 23, 2011

Allegations: Wiretaps & Other Abuses of Power in Colombia Financed With U.S. Aid

Allegations: Wiretaps & Other Abuses of Power in Colombia Financed With U.S. Aid

Photo: Uribe and the Wiretapping Scandal

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Washington Post published over the weekend a very comprehensive article providing significant information about the financing of illegal operations carried out by the Colombian government.

According to law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Post and interviews with prosecutors and former Colombian intelligence officials, billions of dollars, special hardware and software and technical and military training provided over the last decade to elite units of the Colombian intelligence agency “DAS” (Administrative Security Department), were allegedly used to carry out spying operations, blackmail and to smear campaigns against Supreme Court justices, former President Alvaro Uribe’s political opponents and civil society groups.

Since the nineties, and under three administrations, Colombia has been Washington’s closest ally in Latin America, a title that comes with financial benefits: $6 billion in aid were awarded to the nation during Uribe’s 2002-10 presidency.

The Washington Post reports that a former DAS director said in an interview that “DAS units depended on U.S.-supplied computers, wiretapping devices, cameras and mobile phone interception systems, as well as rent for safe houses and petty cash for gasoline. “We could have operated” without U.S. assistance, he said, “but not with the same effectiveness.”

Uribe himself is under investigation by a special legislative commission whose constitutional power trumps Uribe’s Ex-President Diplomatic Immunity.

American officials denied having knowledge of or having been involved in questionable operatives committed by the DAS and Colombian prosecutors have not accused any Americans of wrongdoing.

The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo said on Tuesday that Colombia’s attorney general Viviane Morales met with Washington Post delegates to make clear that her office has no open investigations on the supposed irregular handling of U.S. aid tied to the wiretapping scandal; former President Alvaro Uribe said to be “profoundly disappointed” with the article and sent a protest letter to the Washington Post.

U.S. Embassy in Colombia officials said they didn’t know if the equipment sent by the U.S. was used for illegal operations, later they said the Washington Post’s version was “incorrect.”