Report: CIA helped Colombia kill rebel leaders
Iran Press TV
Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:56PM GMT
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has secretly helped the Colombian government kill at least two dozen rebel leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, an anti-US insurgency group, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The covert US program to annihilate the rebel group known as FARC, included "substantial eavesdropping help" from the National Security Agency (NSA), the Post said Saturday.
The newspaper's report is based on interviews with more than 30 former and current US and Colombian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing.
The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by former President George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Barack Obama, according to US military, intelligence and diplomatic officials.
In March 2008, Colombian forces killed a top FARC commander, Raul Reyes, just across the border with Ecuador, using US-made smart bombs in the operation.
The CIA assistance to the Columbian government is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget and is not part of the public $9 billion package of US military aid, which began in 2000, according the report.
The US allocated $52.8 billion in 2012 for its black budget, a budget used for classified and other secret operations, the Post reported in August, based on information given by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Colombia's government and FARC have been engaged in peace talks in Havana, Cuba since late 2012, to resolve a decades-long armed conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced millions more.
Columbia's US-backed military has reduced FARC's ranks and killed several top commanders, though the rebels insist they are still a potent force.
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