Monday, May 18, 2009

Colombia's National Security Agency Tapped Phones of Journalist

Via Reporters Without Borders -

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for an investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) following a new round of revelations about the spying on journalists and news media by the DAS, an intelligence agency that reports directly to the president’s office. The phone-tap scandal was first exposed by the weekly Semana in February.

“Ever since DAS director Jorge Noguera was fired and jailed and paramilitary infiltration of the intelligence services was exposed in 2005, it has been clear that the phones of journalists - some of them known to be in the government’s sights - were being tapped,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The latest details leaked to the press by former DAS officials reveal the scale of this practice and are damning for the president’s office.”

The press freedom organisation added: “At a time when the possibility of a third term is being mentioned, President Alvaro Uribe must give a public response on this matter instead of trying to hide behind broad denials. A violation of the principles of the American Convention on Human Rights on such a scale requires the IACHR’s involvement.”

According to the latest reports, eight news media and 14 journalists are named in documents that former DAS officials have leaked to Semana and RCN, one of Colombia’s leading broadcasting networks. Capt. Jorge Lagos, a former member of the DAS counter-espionage directorate, says the taps were carried out on the orders of the DAS leadership in coordination with the Casa de Nariño (the presidential palace) and that presidential secretary Bernardo Moreno and presidential adviser José Obdulio Gaviria were among those who received copies of the phone-tap reports.


Colombia - DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad)

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