President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree on Monday implementing Colombia’s newly formed National Intelligence Agency (ANI) in place of the disgraced Department of Administrative Security (DAS).
The Colombian government declared that the new agency, headed by former Navy commander Alvaro Echandia, is a modern institution dedicated exclusively to intelligence and counter-intelligence gathering in the state.
Echandia, born in Medellin in 1953, was vice-admiral of the Colombian Navy until his appointment as ANI director and has occupied both military and diplomatic positions in his professional life.
Under the new decree, the ANI is a civilian agency under the Presidency of the Republic and has no judicial police functions. It will not support criminal investigations and will have nothing to do monitoring the security of the state. Judicial documents given to DAS in the past will be eliminated.
In the initial calculations of the President, the elimination of DAS and the creation of ANI will cost about $37 million.
The Colombian Presidency has not revealed how many former DAS employees will take part in the new intelligence agency. Santos also did not announce how many employees the agency will have.