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Colombia's President Dismantles Spy Agency

November 01, 2011

VOA News

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has eliminated the country's domestic intelligence agency after years of scandals.

President Santos shuttered the agency, known as DAS, Monday, saying it would be replaced by a new unit and its employees transferred to other government agencies.

DAS had been accused of illegally wiretapping judges, journalists, and political foes of Santos's predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who held office from 2002 until 2010. It also was accused of passing intercepted communication to drug traffickers and other illegal armed groups.

At least 20 former officials from DAS have been arrested.

Uribe's former chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, was arrested in July for his alleged involvement with illegal wire tapping. In September, one of the agency's former chiefs, Jorge Noguera, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for scheming with right-wing paramilitaries that targeted union activists for murder.

Another former head, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, resigned in 2008 after it was revealed that agents were ordered to spy on opposition leaders. She is currently living in exile in Panama.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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