Military


Colombia - DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad)

In addition to the National Police, two other organizations-- the DAS and the Customs Service (Servicio de Aduana)--had important law enforcement responsibilities. The DAS was the principal organization responsible for enforcement of laws relating to national security. This organization had a national role comparable to that of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States. The formal responsibilities under the DAS's mandate included investigating crimes against the internal security of the state, fraud against the state and its financial institutions, breaches of the public faith, and crimes affecting individual liberty and human rights. The DAS also was responsible for screening and maintaining records on foreigners who entered the nation and for enforcing immigration laws. To carry out its mission, the DAS had both investigative and intelligence-gathering responsibilities.

Like the minister of national defense, the chief of the DAS reported directly to the president of the republic. In 1988 General Miguel Alfredo Maza Márquez served as chief of the DAS. Among the administrative units reporting to the DAS chief were the heads of the Office of Evaluation, the Office of Analysis and Programming, and the Rural Security Service. During the mid-1970s, the DAS was believed to have some 3,000 plainclothes personnel.

In comparison with the military and the National Police, the professional career system under the DAS was considered to be relatively weak, a factor that was thought to have contributed to the high attrition rate of DAS personnel during the late 1970s. The DAS did, however, operate its own training schools--one in Bogotá and the other in Boyacá. The DAS coordinated its domestic operations with the ministries of government, foreign affairs, justice, and national defense.



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