Highly sensitive documents, only available to Colombia’s top military commanders, have been leaked to the media, reported weekly Semana on Sunday.
The article gave examples of the classified military information which reportedly had reached other civilians through an unknown military leak.
Semana did not shed light on how the secret information — which could be extremely detrimental to ongoing military campaigns in Colombia — was gathered, but the news comes as yet another attack on the security and integrity of Colombia’s already battered armed forces.
The Colombian military and secret security services have come under fire periodically, most recently because of classified military information that ended up in the hands of the campaign of former presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, a close ally of former President Alvaro Uribe.
A series of interviews conducted by Semana in August of this year set the Colombian political sphere aflame, reigniting early fears of an apparent alliance between the Colombian political right and active elements of the military to derail ongoing and historic peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group.
The latest article published this weekend further fuels criticism of the armed forces lack of security and careful monitoring of access to sensitive information.
The newspaper refused to publish information deemed important to maintain national security but gave vague details of the content of seized documents.
- A 76-page document entitled ‘Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the critical capabilities of aggression’ which contains a thorough study not only of the state of some structures of the FARC but the weaknesses of Colombian army units called ‘gray areas’ .It contains precise observations on the strengths and weaknesses of the rebels and the army itself.
- A list of documents prepared by the Regional Military Intelligence called ‘device-composition-strength enemy, fourth division’. This includes a document detailing the structure of the Eastern Bloc of the FARC.
- Several ‘war maps’ which show ‘areas of confrontation and information on enemy strategic’ areas. It also has tactical maps throughout the country showing where different fronts of the FARC and the ELN move and details of troop numbers and alleged leaders.
- A series of aerial photos taken from Army reconnaissance aircraft. These images are used to plan field operations and attacks by the armed forces.
Semana claim to have access to a large amount of military documents dating back to 2008, none of which have been de-classified for public knowledge. The newspaper states that the information was received between October 2013 and current.
The amount of classified information being leaked from military sources came to light after the arrest of hacker Sepulveda in May of this year. In the following enquiry the leak was named was Air force member Yesid Gonzalez, but according to Semana little has been done to ensure that less classified information is being leaked into the hands of civilians.
On September 12 the Ministry of Defence announced a special general commission was to be led by Vice-Admiral César Augusto Narvaez to combat leaks in the Armed Forces and the Police.
The latest expose in the press will only further reinforce the need to ensure that sensitive information which could derail the ongoing peace talks, or put the lives of military and police members at risk in the fight against criminal groups and rebel forces in Colombia, must be kept private and outside of the public sphere.
With the peace talks reaching a crucial stage, the government will be keen to ensure the public that it maintains a grasp on the control of information and that everything is being conducted above board.