The former director of Colombia’s recently dissolved intelligence agency, DAS, said that the closure of the disgraced organization was inevitable, in an interview with El Espectador.
“The DAS needed a complete change because there were structural problems at the heart of it,” said the now retired former intelligence chief, Felipe Muñoz.
Muñoz believes that fundamental structural problems and the leadership of ex-director Jorge Noguera had turned the DAS into an illegitimate organization.
Muñoz sees Noruega, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for conspiracy and illegal use of privileged information, as being largely responsible for bringing down the 58-year-old intelligence agency. “I am going to repeat the same phrase, the same thing I said before Congress, the administration of Jorge Norguera was very bad for the DAS.”
Other problems for the now defunct organization was the inadequate pay and incentives for intelligence workers, who had “no incentive to ensure their professional development.”
Muñoz added that “DAS did not evolve, the DAS was left with a structure and a culture from a long time before, and this all became part of the crisis.”
The former intelligence chief does not blame the disintegration of the agency on ex-President Alvaro Uribe, saying that, “people get upset in this area of responsibility, they want to find a culprit and the culprit is always the person closest.”
Muñoz said the problems with DAS go way beyond Uribe’s leadership, “the DAS had a structural crisis that had been incubating for 25 years and a few circumstantial facts aggravated the situation. Even without the latest scandal, the agency needed a full an complete restructuring.”
Regarding Colombia’s new National Intelligence Agency, Muñoz said he believes that there are a number of lessons to be learned from the dissolution of DAS and that a series of new controls will be needed to ensure a successful organization.