Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS was officially eliminated Monday after several years of scandals including paramilitary ties, illegal wiretapping, and corruption.
Replacing the 58-year old DAS will be a new intelligence agency headed by the former Commander of the National Navy, Admiral Alvaro Echandia.
The elimination decrees will be issued Tuesday and Wednesday, and will incorporate 2,300 members from DAS into Colombia’s Technical Investigation Team (CTI) of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Migration issues from DAS will become part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while personal security schemes will be issued to the Ministry of the Interior.
The dismantling of DAS became inevitable after revelations that the agency was involved in numerous human rights abuses such as the killing of labor rights workers and the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court judges, human rights workers, journalists and opposition politicians.
After the imminent dissolving of the DAS became known, employees massively leaked classified documents that revealed that DAS agents provided training to paramilitary forces, were linked to known drug traffickers such as aliases “Cuchillo” and “El Loco,” and participated in the attempted murder of Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras while he was a senator.
After the leak last September, the names and addresses of 6,022 DAS officials including informants, undercover agents, and their family members were compromised.
Commenting on the dangers of the leak, Muñoz had said, “My commitment is to entirely liquidate the DAS and move towards a new institution with better checks and more respect for human rights. Those who leak information, which has happened, are putting peoples’ lives and national security at risk.”
With Muñoz by his side, President Santos is fulfilling a commitment made by his predecessor Alvaro Uribe in 2009.