Ecuadorean president Raphael Correa said that his government would break diplomatic ties with Colombia if the allegations that intelligence agency DAS had spied on him prove to be true, reports the AP.
“If you’re watching the president of Ecuador and the Ecuadorean government … with the knowledge of current President Uribe and the then Minister of Defense [Juan Manuel] Santos, [this] would not only be an obstacle for the resumption of bilateral relations, [but could] break off diplomatic relations. This is extremely serious, very serious,” president Correa said at a press conference.
Correa expressed hope that the allegations of wiretapping were false and that he intends to “work, for now, with the official version of DAS and the Colombian government.”
The Colombian government vehemently denies the allegations, according to Colombian foreign minister, Jaime Bermudez.
“The answer was provided by the DAS yesterday in a statement. The DAS categorically reject that possibility … the DAS response is overwhelming,” Bermudez said.
On Monday, Ecuador’s prosecutor general’s office opened a preliminary investigation into the allegations, which were published in Ecuadorean newspaper El Universo, saying that, if true, the wiretapping of Ecuador’s president go “against the sovereignty and internal security” of a country.
According to a DAS official who was interviewed by the newspaper and wished to remain anonymous, members of the security agency were stationed in the Ecuadorean capital in order to intercept both landline and cellphone calls made from Correa’s office.
Two apartments used in the operation were “rented in the center of Quito” and “in a six-floor building on Gonzalez Suarez Avenue, where the equipment worked better,” explained the DAS official.
The surveillance operation was allegedly launched after the Colombian army conducted a raid on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory in 2008, causing diplomatic relations between the neighboring country’s to fracture. According to El Universo’s informant, DAS’s surveillance points in Quito may still exist.
This is not the first time the DAS has been accused of involvement in international wiretap scandals. Last April leaked reports from the trial against DAS revealed that the security agency had carried out illegal monitoring as part of a smear campaign against European organizations, including the EU parliament.
According to the files, the European Parliamentary committee on human rights, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, and certain national governments were deemed a threat to the Colombian government.
Members of the security agency are currently on trial in Colombia for the alleged illegal surveillance and wiretapping activity of a number of the country’s magistrates, opposition politicians, trade unionists and journalists.