The former ICT director of Colombia’s intelligence service DAS confirmed a leaked testimony wherein he alleged that the DAS was engaged in drug trafficking by paramilitary organization AUC and wiretapping government critics. President Alvaro Uribe was aware of the service’s illegal activities, the director said.
“The only thing I can say is that during [former director Jorge] Noguera’s tenure, drug trafficking was carried out by the DAS with the participation of senior DAS officials,” Garcia said to Noticias Uno.
Garcia also alleged in the newscast interview that DAS gave weapons to the now demobilized paramilitary Northern Bloc, and that several local DAS directors were appointed by explicit request from the paramilitaries. Garcia stated that the appointments of Romulo Betancur as the DAS director in Bolivar, and of Emilio Vence Zabaleta as the DAS director in Atlántico, were solicited by paramilitary commanders.
Garcia told Noticias Uno that Noguera kept in contact with the paramilitary leaders through the imprisoned army general Rito Alejo del Rio.
According to Garcia, Noguera wiretapped NGO, leftist, and opposition leaders, like the senators Piedad Cordoba and Gustavo Petro. “At his home, while we were having some drinks, he (Noguera) told me: ‘I even hear Piedad Cordaba’s snoring’,” said Garcia.
Garcia also said that the security officials assigned to protect opposition leaders by DAS were used by Noguera to spy on the people.
Garcia repeated his allegations that President Uribe was aware of Noguera’s illegal actions. According to Garcia, Noguera handed intelligence information to paramilitary forces following the command of President Uribe.
“He (Noguera) told me: ‘Don’t worry. The President and the Prosecutor (General) are fully aware of this. They will back us up when necessary,” said Garcia to Noticias Uno. Garcia also told the newscast reporter that he heard Noguera complaining over the phone in a conversation with President Uribe because a Magdalena Police director was harassing the paramilitary forces in the northern Colombian Department.
Noguera is currently in jail on suspicion of having had ties to the AUC and using the now demobilized paramilitaries for political murders.
Garcia is serving an 11-year sentence for helping paramilitaries while serving for the DAS.