Colombia’s military used US resources to spy on American journalists, local NGO’s and politicians, and even President Ivan Duque‘s former chief of staff, according to weekly Semana.
Weekly Semana on Friday revealed evidence that among the 130 targets of the illegal spying operations were journalists of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, leading opposition senators, military commanders and even Jorge Mario Eastman, who resigned as Duque’s chief of staff last year.
The information about the illegal spying practices was sent to Duque’s far-right Democratic Center (CD) party, Semana had already revealed in January.
“This is going to be a mess”
While the illegal spying practices were already known, the extent of the military’s criminal activity in alleged collusion with the ruling party was not.
According to Semana, the US embassy had already removed spying equipment provided to the military after its initial revelations, before knowing the Colombian military was using American tax payer’s money to spy on American journalists.
In the case of the New York Times’ former correspondent, Nicolas Casey, the military created an entire folder in which they tried to map the reporters’ contacts. Casey’s file included even an American former intern of Colombia Reports.
The Americans are not going to like that part of their own money, of their taxpayers as they say, has been diverted from the legitimate purposes for which it was given, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, ended up being used to dig into the lives of journalists of important media from their own country. This is going to be a mess.
Anonymous participant in illegal spying practices
Human Rights Watch director Jose Miguel Vivanco, one of the Colombian military’s intelligence targets, announced he’d be taking steps in Washington DC in January.
Defense minister becomes incoherent
In a rushed press conference, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that 11 military officials were sacked and that one general retired after the revelations made by the magazine.
Trujillo, who reportedly tried to block a Supreme Court investigation into the spying practices in December last year, would not reveal the identities of the officials.
According to the defense minister, the military and the Inspector General’s Office have been investigating the spying since January, contradicting a previous claim this alleged investigation had already begun in December.
These investigations have so far led nowhere.