Charges finally announced in Colombia wiretap scandal

Alvaro Uribe

Alvaro Uribe

Colombia’s chief prosecutor has finally announced criminal charges against ten former government officials accused of spying on political opponents of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. As intelNews reported in April, Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS) suffered one of the most extensive purges in its history, when 22 (later joined by 11 more) of its detectives were fired for illegally wiretapping several public figures. Those targeted by the wiretaps included the chief of the Colombian National Police, minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos, former President Cesar Gaviria, supreme court judges, prominent journalists, union leaders and human rights campaigners. Eight of the ten people named in the chief prosecutor’s arrest warrant have reportedly surrendered, but Jose Miguel Narvaez, former deputy director of DAS, is still at large. DAS, which reports directly to the President, has been at the center of numerous scandals in recent years. Its former director, Jorge Noguera, was arrested in 2005 and is currently in prison, awaiting trial for helping right-wing death squads murder union activists. In addition to his alleged role in the wiretapping scandal, Narvaez is also wanted for his involvement in the murder of union officials by paramilitaries. Amazingly, the Colombian Chief Prosecutor’s Office appears to be the only public institution in Colombia which still refuses to implicate President Uribe in the wiretapping scandal. In its arrest warrant, the Office says that the communications surveillance was intended “to satisfy dark interests that have not yet been determined”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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