CIA knew of Colombian infiltration of Bogota embassies

DAS seal

DAS seal

A Colombian former intelligence official has testified in court that the CIA was aware of an aggressive intelligence collection program by Colombian spies, involving the infiltration of several foreign embassies in Colombian capital Bogota. German Albeiro Ospina, who until recently worked as an investigator for Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (DAS), said the program was conceived and ordered by the agency’s former Director, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, and implemented by Jorge Alberto Lagos, former DAS Director of counterintelligence. The infiltration program was directed against “countries and persons that were of national interest” to Colombia, and involved techniques such as “surveillance, shadowing, infiltration and penetration of the embassies of [targeted] governments”. The latter included Venezuela, Cuba, as well as several countries in the Middle East, said Ospina. What is more, reports of the infiltrations, which were shared with senior Colombian government officials, were also communicated to the CIA, which was aware of the infiltrations, said the former spy official. In 2009, the US Congress voted to stop subsidizing DAS, after the Colombian government announced plans to dismantle the agency, following reports of severe human rights and civil liberties violations. But there is ample information in the public arena showing that the CIA’s close ties to the DAS continue unabated.

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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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