President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday that he is seeking clarification from the US government as to whether intelligence gathering operations in Colombia overstepped the countries joint operations against drug trafficking and rebel groups.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Santos was asked about documents released by Brazilian newspaper O Globo, which revealed that Colombia has been the third largest priority for espionage in Latin America by the US, behind only Brazil and Mexico.
Colombia’s foreign ministry were quick to condemn the allegations, stating that “we reject the acts of espionage that violate the right to privacy of individuals, and of international conventions on telecommunications.”
Santos revealed that US Vice President Joe Biden had called him personally to discuss the matter.
According to the Associated Press however, when asked if satisfied with Biden’s explanations, the head of state replied “we are in that process.”
Colombia is the US strongest ally in the Latin America, and Santos was keen to stress the alliance between the two nations.
“We have conducted joint intelligence operations, using technical intelligence to fight common enemies, including drug trafficking and terrorism,” explained Santos.
“We are at this time in conversations to see if that was everything that was done, or if some other type of espionage occurred,” added the head of state.
Santos will host the US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday. The head of state said that he did not expect to discuss the matter with Kerry, as it was being dealt with by Biden.
- Colombia’s president seeks US clarification on electronic spying (Associated Press)