CIA behind ‘illegal’ anti-drug operation in Costa Rica
March 25, 2011 3 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
An espionage operation against drug trafficking by a mysterious unit within the Costa Rican intelligence service was organized and funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency, it has been alleged. The operation, codenamed CINEC, was revealed by Costa Rica’s former Minister of Public Security, Rogelio Ramos, in an interview earlier this week with the country’s leading newspaper, La Nación. Ramos told the newspaper that CINEC was conducted for a period of ten years by a group of “special agents” operating out of the Dirección de Inteligencia Seguridad (DIS), Costa Rica’s intelligence agency. The former government minister said CINEC members were stationed in houses throughout the country that were leased by front-companies operating on behalf of the CIA, and that they used equipment, including vehicles, supplied by the US agency. He also said that CINEC operatives were recruited, vetted, administered polygraph tests, and trained by the CIA. According to the Nación article, Ramos said that operation CINEC included activities that “are not legal”. Although he did not specify the nature of the alleged activities, several observers assume they included unauthorized communications interception (wiretapping) or surreptitious accessing of bank account information. The paper also interviewed the former DIS Director Roberto Solórzano, who confirmed the existence of CINEC, but denied that its activities included “political policing”, and claimed that “the DIS does not possess the ability to conduct wiretaps [...] it does not possess the [required] equipment”. Interestingly, La Nación contacted Ramos’ successor in the Security Ministry, who claimed he was “completely unaware of the alleged existence of any program called CINEC”. The paper says it also tried to interview officials at the US embassy in San José, but that it has received no response.