Minister promises: No more illegal wiretaps

Colombian Minister for the Interior and Justice German Vargas Lleras said he checks in every week with DAS director Felipe Muñoz to make sure that the security agency is not undertaking illegal wiretapping.

‘Every week I call the director of DAS, who assures me that they are not committing illegal wiretapping,” Vargas Lleras said, adding that he defends Colombian citizens’ right to privacy.

Vargas Lleras also called on the judiciary to make “exemplary convictions” of those implicated in the illegal surveillance of high-profile Colombians by the state.

The minister said that he had been a victim of illegal wiretapping when he was a senator. “That can not continue to happen in the country,” he said.

There are ongoing trials against former DAS employees over their alleged involvement in the illegal surveillance of Colombian magistrates, journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition politicians.

DAS became the subject of a scandal when allegations emerged in 2009 that the intelligence and security agency had carried out the surveillance on the orders of the administration of then-President Alvaro Uribe.

Uribe was forced to dismantle the DAS, Interpol transferred its cooperation with Colombian authorities to the national police, and U.S. Congress ruled that neither the DAS nor its successors will receive any financial aid from the U.S. government.

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