A video has emerged showing the hacker arrested for spying on Colombia’s peace talks, informing presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga about what appears to be illegally obtained US military intelligence information.
In the latest plot twist in an unprecedented electoral spying scandal, a video obtained by news magazine Semana showed that Zuluaga and his adviser Luis Alfonso Hoyos were closer to the hacker than originally revealed.
The video also shows that information was obtained not only from Colombian authorities but also from the United States armed forces.
The video shows Zuluaga and his recently dismissed campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, meeting with the hacker Andres Sepulveda.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
Sepulveda was arrested on May 6 for running a hacking program from an office in Bogota where he illegally obtained information from the peace talks in Bogota and hacked into the accounts of several politicians including President Juan Manuel Santos.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the video was recorded on April 13.
The video was recorded secretly with the cellphone of another hacker, a few weeks before the arrest of Sepulveda. The video shows Sepulveda in his office against nine computer monitors, with Zuluaga sitting at his side, listening to the hacker speak.
|“But what are we showing? Information from the intelligence side which can be made public, although we cannot publish everything. This is an example: the military resume of what is being negotiated in Havana”|
In the video you can hear the conversation of Hoyos, Sepulveda and Zuluaga discussing the hacking program. Hoyos reads and discuss a report on specific movements in the networks of campaigns and political figures.
Sepulveda discusses the hacking program, and explains, as Zuluaga and Hoyos listen intently, “But what are we showing? Information from the intelligence side which can be made public, although we cannot publish everything. This is an example: the military resume of what is being negotiated in Havana.”
Neither Zuluaga nor Hoyos display any surprise that they have access to this confidential information.
Sepulveda goes on to discuss information concerning the FARC peace negotiation team and specifically Andres Paris. He reveals that he has access to “military information.”
He continued, “we are also taking information from the Daniel Aldana mobile column [of the FARC], which is what has lately been attacking the security forces.”
“We have taken the entire history of the ringleaders at the peace dialogues of Havana right from the beginning up until today,” he said.
Information acquired from US
Furthermore, in the conversation it is revealed that not only did Sepulveda illegally acquire information from Colombian authorities but also from the United States armed forces.
“We know that Timochenko (Timoleon Jimenez, the leader of the FARC ) is on the border, with tuberculosis. This information was corroborated by two sources. I have access to the Southern Command [the US army branch in charge of operations in South America], and the AWACS aircraft, which are the communications that monitor them…” said the hacker.
Zuluaga had previously denied having contact with Andres Sepulveda but changed his story last weekend.
|“I want to speak frankly, with all truth while always acting in good faith”|
“On one occasion, at the beginning of my campaign, I visited the office of whom today is accused of acting illegally. I went to greet the people who were doing social support work,” Zuluaga confirmed, adding, “I want to speak frankly, with all truth while always acting in good faith.”
”I have no involvement in the details of the operational issues of the campaign […] There is a team leading that […] Our campaign of nearly 200 volunteers are contributing to the work everyday. Virtually, I have no involvement on the topic of operational issues,” the presidential candidate added.
Information from the Andromeda program
Sepulveda admitted last week to having ties to military intelligence officials, and purchasing information from the Andromeda program, a top-secret intelligence gathering operation that was run by the Colombian military, according to documents obtained by El Tiempo.
The documents obtained by El Tiempo reveal that shortly after the discovery of the Andromeda program, Sepulveda met with a contact who offered him information about the rebel group FARC and its ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian government.
Sepulveda has also admitted, according to the newspaper, that the individuals involved in the Andromeda program offered him a packet of information, which included chat logs and emails of discussions between top level FARC officials, for $15,000.
Instead of the 100 email accounts promised, his contacts only delivered 20, which he purchased in exchange for a laptop and $4,000 in cash.
The suspect alleges that it was through this transaction that the received a list of demobilized guerrilla combatants that was found in his possession.
So far, only Sepulveda has been arrested in relation to the most recent incident, though experts are combing through computers seized as part of the investigation and have not ruled out further arrests.
Despite the initial scandal, Zuluaga’s campaign experienced a drastic surge in recent polls.
Zuluaga increasing in popularity, in spite of ongoing scandal
The most recent poll released by Datexco just before the cut off — according to law, no polls can be released a week leading up to the elections — shows not only that Colombians did not punish Zuluaga for lying about the scandal, but rewarded him in the wake of the matter.
Between the end of April and this Friday, Zuluaga has managed to gain nearly 10% in this poll, all but clinching his spot in a second round run off between the Uribe-loyalist and President Juan Manuel Santos.
It is unclear how Saturday’s revelations will affect his campaign.
Sepulveda was arrested on May 6 after agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in northern Bogota, where they discovered surveillance equipment used to intercept electronic communications.
The suspect was allegedly in possession of classified military intelligence including information about the government’s ongoing peace negotiations in Havana, and lists of demobilized guerrilla combatants.
Soon after Sepulveda’s arrest, it was discovered that he had recently been employed by the Zuluaga campaign to assist with “information security.”
- El video del ‘hacker’ y Zuluaga (Semana)