Colombia to dismantle scandal-prone spy agency

Semana cover

Semana cover

Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (DAS) is to be dismantled and most of its 6,000 employees are to be transferred to the country’s other law enforcement agencies, according to Colombian officials. The decision was announced last Friday by DAS director Felipe Muñoz, who said that a new organization would be established to replace the corrupt and scandal-prone agency. A day earlier, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said that a flood of recent scandals involving DAS had forced him to consider eliminating the agency. Earlier this year, the Colombian government was forced to fire 33 DAS agents for illegally wiretapping the phones of several public figures, including 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. In early September, the country’s leading weekly publication, Semana (see photo), reported that DAS had intensified illegal intelligence activities and that its operatives were systematically intimidating members of Congress, who may have to vote in a possible referendum to permit President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third term, which is currently unconstitutional.

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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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