The military intelligence operation which allegedly spied on Colombia’s peace talks with the FARC was completely legal, said the country’s defense minister as several members of the military unit were being arrested.
Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon’s comments come after recent remarks from Colombia’s Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre that the country’s military intelligence was tied to the wiretapping of peace negotiators in Havana, Cuba, including the government’s chief negotiator Humberto De La Calle.
While claiming actions carried out by the covert “Andromedia” unit were legitimate, Pinzon offered his complete collaboration with the Prosecutor General on any investigation into alleged illegal activity within the unit, newspaper El Espectador reported Wednesday.
Any alleged abuses that might have occurred in the operation could be attributed to individuals working for Andromeda, not the unit as a whole, Pinzon claimed.
Military intelligence operations against the peace talks were revealed the Colombian weekly Semana back in February.
Based on 15-months of reporting and testimony from an unnamed inside source, Semana concluded that a Colombian military intelligence unit funded and coordinated by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used advanced online technology and hacking techniques to monitor the text messages and emails of opposition politicians and representatives of both the government and the FARC involved in the Havana peace negotiations.
According to the report, the secret intelligence center also recruited civilian hackers at ‘campus parties’ to collaborate with the military on cyber espionage tasks.
According to a campaign worker of former Presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the gathered classified information was sold to opponents of the peace talks.