Colombia ‘peace talks hacker’ blows whistle, implicates military and Uribe in spy scandal

Andres Sepulveda (Photo: Semana)

Colombia’s military, its intelligence agency under former President Alvaro Uribe, and the family of former presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga were all directly involved with illegal spying on the ongoing peace talks, the alleged spy said in an interview on Sunday.

Computer engineer Andres Sepulveda was arrested in May, weeks before the elections, and accused of illegally spying on the peace talks that are held between the government and rebel group FARC in Cuba.

MORE: Another clandestine wiretapping operation discovered in Bogota

In an interview with weekly Semana, Sepulveda admitted to the spying and clarified he worked closely with “Andromeda,” a covert spying operation run by members of Military Intelligence that was discovered and apparently shut down by prosecutors in February.

MORE: Colombian military and CIA accused of spying on peace talks

Incriminated by Sepulveda

  • Alvaro Uribe (former president)
  • Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (former presidential candidate)
  • Luis Alfonso Hoyos (Zuluaga campaign manager)
  • David Zuluaga (son of Uribe’s presidential candidate)
  • Maria Fernanda Cabal (House representative for Uribe’s Democratic Center party)
  • National Intelligence Directorate

Military commanders sold information

“Andromeda had everything. What we did with Andromeda was buy information favorable to the objectives of the Oscar Ivan Zuluaga campaign and follow up on the instructions” to counter the peace talks.

Uribe, the president of Colombia between 2002 and 2010, “had been leading” this campaign opposing the peace talks “using different pawns,” said Sepulveda.

The former president had been supported by members within the military loyal to the former commander in chief, and who opposed efforts by current President Juan Manuel Santos to negotiate peace with the country’s largest and longest-living rebel group.

“Andromeda was part of the information leak to this group of generals who were not in favor of the [peace] process and in favor of former President Uribe.”

“Andromeda was part of the information leak to this group of generals who were not in favor of the [peace] process and in favor of former President Uribe,”  said Sepulveda.

“Military Intelligence had this information, and from the highest levels of the hierarchy (…) they leaked this information,” the hacker claimed.

According to Sepulveda, Uribe had several ways of accessing classified information, and it was not limited to what came from either the Andromeda program or the Zuluaga campaign.

“Uribe’s always had sources who gave him email addresses, login information,” said the hacker.

Political warfare

According to Sepulveda, all of his work was dedicated to promoting Uribe’s Democratic Center Party while attempting to discredit all opposition.

Sepulveda implicated the Inspector General’s Office in promoting the slander of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro following his brief suspension from office over a garbage collecting scandal.

MORE: Colombia’s Inspector General dismisses Bogota mayor over trash collecting scandal

“When Petro was disposed, they were talking about making a repeal. I believe there was a strategy, supported by the Democratic Center and by the inspector general’s team, or people close to the inspector general, in which the goal was to make a smear campaign against Petro,” said the accused hacker.

Sepulveda went on to explain that the inspector general had backed him in providing information and strategy for the smear campaign.

“The aim was to discredit Petro citing issues of corruption and alcoholism. The idea (…) was to invent these things, they would say ‘look, say that Petro is a drunk’ or ‘say that Petro beats women,’ or whatever else you could imagine. We were given ideas that we had to structure in social networks, in how they were made and how they were published.”

Inspector general’s reaction

The Inspector General’s Office has rejected all claims of having been involved with Sepulveda or the alleged smear campaign against Petro, according to Colombia’s El Universal newspaper.

“Neither Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Maldonado nor any officer of the public ministry’s advisory team have had any type of relationship with Mr. Sepulveda.”


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