Colombia’s Office of the Prosecutor General has announced that a video of Colombian presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, showing him and an alleged hacker of discussing confidential military intelligence, has not been tampered with.
Bogota‘s Blu Radio reported on Friday that the Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed that the footage was not edited or manipulated in any way. Colombia Reports found the website of the Prosecutor General was down in the wake of the revelation on Friday afternoon.
The scandal of Andres Sepulveda has already rocked the narrative of the presidential race, which culminates in first round elections Sunday. Sepulveda — a social media contractor formerly under the employ of the campaign of the Democratic Center party’s (Centro Democratico) Oscar Ivan Zuluaga — was arrested last week in conjunction with the allegations.
Colombia’s prosecutor general later told El Tiempo newspaper that Sepulveda had been working with members of the Colombian military to access privilidged information on the FARC rebel group, the country’s largest, and its ongoing peace negotiations with the national government. Sepulveda is also accused of selling information on the black market and to other elements of the armed forces.
A video released last Saturday showed the suspect discussing classified intelligence with Zuluaga, who has consistently placed second in national election polls taken before the scandal broke.
Connection to the Zuluaga Campaign
Sepulveda has been implicated in relation to the Zuluaga campaign, where a scandal has rocked the campaign of the Centro Democratico candidate. The video was recorded secretly with the cellphone of another hacker, a few weeks before the arrest of Sepulveda.
The video shows Sepulveda in his office against nine computer monitors, with Zuluaga sitting at his side, listening to the hacker speak. Zuluaga and his lawyer claim the video is a “montage.”
Colombian Armed Forces under investigation
Bogota-based Blu Radio reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office would deliver the initial results of the investigation to the Ministry of Defense. The documents reportedly reveal the identities of some of Sepulveda’s military contacts.
The Prosecutor General’s Office will also file two additional charges in the investigation of Sepulveda, including conspiracy and usurpation of civil services, as reported by the El Espectador newspaper.
Sepulveda is said to be cooperating with the Prosecutor General’s Office’s technical investigation team (CTI), implicating several members of the military and other hackers he worked with.
Sepulveda was arrested on May 6 after CTI agents raided an apartment in Bogota, where they discovered surveillance equipment allegedly used to intercept electronic communications about ongoing peace negotiations with the FARC in Havana, Cuba, as well as information on Zuluaga’s primary opponent in the election race, incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos.
Sepulveda admitted last week to having ties to military intelligence officials, and purchasing information from the “Andromeda” program, a top-secret intelligence gathering operation that was run by the Colombian military and also targeted the Havana peace talks, along with journalists covering the negotiations and politicians close to the talks, according to documents obtained by El Tiempo.
The documents obtained by El Tiempo reveal that shortly after the discovery of the Andromeda program, Sepulveda met with a contact who offered him information about the FARC and the negotiation process.
Sepulveda has also admitted, according to the newspaper, that the individuals involved in the Andromeda program offered him a packet of information, which included chat logs and emails of discussions between top level FARC officials, for $15,000.
Furthermore, in the conversation it is revealed that not only did Sepulveda illegally acquire information from Colombian authorities, but also from the United States armed forces.