Colombian security agency DAS intercepted the phone calls and conducted surveillance of Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, according to a report published Monday by Ecuadorean news site El Universo.
The report says it is based on testimony by a Colombian DAS official who was in charge of the surveillance operation, named Operation Salomon, based in Quito.
According to the DAS official, who wishes 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 centre of Quito” and “in a six-floor building on Av. Gonzalez Suarez, 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.
Sources at DAS denied the allegations, saying that it would be technically impossible for the operation to have taken place.
The intelligence agency said that an official statement denying any involvement would be released Monday.
When questioned about the allegations last month, DAS director Felipe Muñoz neither confirmed nor denied that the agency was surveying the Ecuadorean president.
“I have been instructed to speak about this via the Foreign Ministry,” said the DAS official.
One of the agency’s investigators, Robert Ardila, spoke in court about DAS activity in Ecuador, but only referred to its use of “cabins” on the border region between Ecuador and Colombia.
Contacted by the Ecudorean newspaper, the country’s consular general, Carlos Solorzano, said he did not know about Operation Salomon, but that “it is very difficult to know that a telephone is being tapped: what we are saying right now, the DAS could be listening.”
The report states that members of Ecuador’s government have requested explanation and details of the operation from the Colombian government.
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.