Congress will review a bill to liquidate Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS Thursday, amid claims that the new agency will not engage in wire taps.
The new entity will be substantially smaller in structure, personnel, functions and costs, and focus on intelligence, counterintelligence and everything related to immigration and border control, said current DAS director Felipe Muñoz.
Newspaper El Espectador reported that the as-yet unnamed new agency would continue to depend on the President of the Republic, Alvaro Uribe, but would not undertake judicial police tasks or the tapping of telephones, a practice made public earlier this year.
“The interception of telephone calls is a positive tool that has helped [the judicial police]. The new civilian intelligence agency will not have judicial police functions, so therefore will not have wiretapping capabilities,” Caracol Radio reported Muñoz as saying.
The DAS currently numbers 7,100 positions, but only 6,500 are currently occupied, and Muñoz said this would be substantially reduced. He did not know how much liquidating DAS would cost, but anticipated that the payroll of the new agency would be significantly less.
Muñoz said that the liquidation process would be enacted with fairness and respect for the right of all staff.
Muñoz said that it had not yet been decided how many personnel would be dedicated to intelligence, counterintelligence, and foreign affairs.
He reiterated that in future the issue of alien control “should not only be a matter of stamping passports but an activity of national security and sovreignty to which we must dedicate ourselves and have a greater presence in border issues.”