Documents allegedly describe joint US-Colombian spy operations

Tarek El Aissami

Tarek El Aissami

A day after announcing the arrest of a number of Colombian intelligence agents on Venezuelan soil, Venezuelan officials presented what they described as “irrefutable evidence” of joint US-Colombian spy operations. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Venezuela’s interior minister Tarek El Aissami, said documents acquired in connection with the capture of the Colombian intelligence agents, show that their actions were part of “an ambitious CIA-funded operation”. Venezuelan security forces detained the two Colombians, Angel Jacinto Guanare and Eduardo Gonzalez Muñoz, along with an alleged Venezuelan accomplice, Melvin Argenis Gutierrez, on October 2, 2009, in the city of Maracay, 50 miles west of Venezuelan capital Caracas. El Aissami suggested that documents relating to the activities of the three men reveal that they were part of Operation FALCON, a joint project by the CIA and Colombian intelligence agency DAS, which aimed “to collect information about the Bolivarian National Armed Forces” and recruit informants from anti-government circles. The interior minister also claimed that FALCON was carried out in conjunction with two other projects, namely Operation PHOENIX, targeting Cuba, and Operation SALOMON, aimed at Ecuador. He said SALOMON involved a total of 144 agents, mainly from DAS, who operated in Ecuador and were allegedly funded through the US Embassy in Colombian capital Bogota. Speaking on the Operation SALOMON allegations, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said they were “extremely serious” and might prompt his government to reconsider ongoing attempts to reestablish diplomatic relations with Colombia. Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia in March of 2008, after the Colombian armed forces bombed what Bogota claimed was an operations base of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) inside Ecuador. Colombia and the United States have yet to respond to the Venezuelan spying allegations.

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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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