Ecuador on Tuesday sent Colombia a request for information on the alleged spying by Colombian security agency DAS on Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, El Tiempo reports.
“We sent a note yesterday asking for them to give us the information about this incident,” said Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño.
On Monday, Ecuador’s Prosecutor General’s Office opened a preliminary investigation into the illegal spying allegations after a local newspaper published an interview with an anonymous DAS official. The official said that members of the Colombian security agency were stationed in Quito in order to intercept both land line and cellphone calls made from Correa’s office.
Two apartments used in the operation were “rented in the center of Quito” and “in a six-floor building on Gonzalez Suarez Avenue, where the equipment worked better,” explained the DAS official.
The surveillance operation was allegedly launched after the Colombian army conducted a raid on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory in 2008, causing diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries to fracture. According to the informant, DAS’s surveillance points in Quito may still exist.
Following the allegations, President Correa warned that his government would once again break diplomatic ties with Colombia if the claim that DAS had spied on him proved to be true.
The Colombian government, however, vehemently denied the allegations. “The answer was provided by the DAS yesterday in a statement. The DAS categorically reject that possibility … the DAS response is overwhelming,” Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said Tuesday.
This is not the first time the DAS has been accused of involvement in international wiretap scandals. Last April leaked reports from the Colombian prosecutor general’s files revealed that the security agency had carried out illegal monitoring as part of a smear campaign against European organizations, including the E.U. parliament.
According to the files, the European Parliamentary committee on human rights, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, and certain national governments were deemed a threat to the Colombian government.
Members of the security agency are currently on trial in Colombia for the alleged illegal surveillance and wiretapping activity of a number of the country’s magistrates, opposition politicians, trade unionists and journalists.