The Colombian government is seeking greater transparency in its intelligence-gathering, and is implementing an Intelligence Act to ensure that scandals such as the DAS wiretapping incident of earlier this year do not recur.
The government signed a decree Tuesday to open the door for the United Nation’s High Commission of Human Rights to be involved in the process.
The Intelligence Act, passed earlier this year, requires the revision and, if necessary, destruction of all information related to files held for reasons of “gender, race, national or family origin, language, religion, political or philosophical membership of a trade union, social or human rights, and to promote the interests of any political party.”
In the decree, the government ordered all intelligence-related agencies – DAS, the Army, the National Police, Uiaf – to periodically update and refine the information in their files, using the advice of entities that are aware of said procedures, such as the United Nations.
The measure was adopted when the UN itself called to verify whether one of their reporters was being illegally followed in 2005. It forms part of a package that seeks to make the operation of intelligence more transparent, and to avoid practices that surfaced as part of the wiretapping scandal of earlier this year.
The Intelligence Act specifically says that the activities of secret organizations can not “affect the rights and guarantees of oppositional political parties,” reports newspaper El Tiempo.
All intelligence-gathering organizations must be ready to present their intelligence and counter-intelligence files for inspection within six months. Specifically, they must establish who can give orders and how they can be carried out.