Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzon stated he will not take any punitive measures against military officials before receiving the results of recently opened investigations into a secret army surveillance program targeting opposition politicians and delegates to Colombia’s ongoing peace talks with the country’s largest rebel group, reported national media sources Thursday.
A series of revelations published by the Semana magazine earlier this week indicate that the “Andromeda” unit of the Colombian intelligence forces was digitally monitoring the communications of leftist political figures, as well as government officials and rebel representatives involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, but Pinzon said he will not give in to political pressure and begin dismissing members of the military without first obtaining sufficient evidence.
“I’m not willing to take absurd decisions as were made in the past when they threw people out without letting them talk, and no investigations existed,” said Pinzon, according to Caracol Radio.
The minister has also joined President Juan Manuel Santos in defending the government’s broader intelligence operations, stating that they play a vital role in investigating criminal and armed groups, and would be continued in the future.
On Wednesday, the president set a deadline of one week from the Friday for the investigations being conducted by the Army’s Inspector General into the matter. Congress is likely to conduct its own investigations, but if the president’s deadline is honored, the minister should have all the information he needs to make his decisions at some point in the next week.