The Uribe administration in 2008 carefully planned the leaking of information from computers of killed FARC commander Raul Reyes to link Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to the rebel group, diplomatic cables released Wednesday by WikiLeaks.
In a cable from March 27, 2008 — little over three weeks after the computers were found — then-U.S. ambassador to Bogota William Brownsfield informed Washington that the Colombian government would “selectively leak information from FARC computers connecting Presidents Chavez and Correa and their Governments to the FARC over the next 4-6 weeks.”
According to Brownfield, Bogota put Deputy Defense Minister Sergio Jaramillo in charge of the publicizing of information.
In the 4-6 week interim, the GOC plans to selectively
provide intelligence from the computers to carefully chosen
North American, Colombian, Spanish, and Latin media tied to
specific themes. Jaramillo thought the most logical themes
were: the FARC and President Chavez, the FARC and President
Correa, the FARC and drug trafficking, and the FARC and
hostages. The GOC would carefully review all material before
release to filter material that could be damaging to the GOC.
Then-Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos promised to give the U.S. the full set of information coming from the computers “on the condition that the USG not release any information publicly or for attribution without prior consultation with the GOC.”
Santos told the ambassador that Bogota planned to release all contents of the computers to an international organization after Interpol verified the content of the computers was not tampered.
Interpol eventually reported that the computers had not been tampered after March 4 when the evidence entered a chain of custody. The International police organization did not guarantee the content could not have been tampered in the period between the March 1 bombing and the time the computers entered the chain of custody.
Colombia used the information on the computers to accuse Chavez of financially supporting the FARC and Ecuadorean President Correa of having received FARC funds for his presidential campaign in 2006 as leverage to the aggressive attitude of the two neighboring countries following the cross-border attack that killed Reyes.
The erroneous handling of the computers made Colombian courts reject the laptops as evidence in cases against politicians and human rights workers who were accused of having ties to the FARC.
The Colombian government never released the full content of the laptops to the public.