Felipe Muñoz, director of Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS denounced Tuesday the existence of a cartel of private detectives who wiretap telephones and carry out industrial espionage.
The intelligence chief had been called to the House of Representative to talk about the illegal wiretapping of government critics conducted by his own agency that because of this scandal will be dismantled.
Muñoz said that also some private detectives wiretap telephones are carrying out industrial espionage and that it was not just the state agency who did so
“We are even talking about industrial espionage. The evidence we have shows that none of those activities were conducted with DAS devices,” Muñoz said to the representatives.
Muñoz added that telephone eavesdropping is so easy that a cell phone can be wiretapped with a pin anyone can buy at Bogota’s downtown. That’s why he asked that the mobile phone companies be invastigated too.
Juan Carlos Portilla, director of the Colombian agency that regulates private security firms, said that his office is investigating 17 security firms on charges of illigal wiretapping. He also stated that Colombian authorities are conducting some probes on importers of wiretapping devices as there are allegations that some importers are illegally selling the imported devices to private security firms.
Portilla said he will make his findings public as soon as he reaches some conclusion on the wiretapping scandal and the private security fims engaged in illigal eavesdropping.
The deputy Prosecutor General Fernando Pareja said that his office found no evidence that wiretapping was a systematic policy of the government. He also explained that the Office of the Prosecutor General supervises 24 legal wiretapping rooms. All the state security agencies use those rooms, except for the Office of the Inspector General and the Air Forces, which have clearance to use them, but have not made use of the wiretapping faicilities.
The second commission of the House of Representative will meet Wednesday to continue with the debate on illigal wiretapping.