Colombia’s president has announced a new intelligence service to replace the disgraced DAS domestic security agency that he dissolved this week.
President Juan Manuel Santos told reporters Friday the National Intelligence Office will begin operating next year. It will answer directly to him.
It will be led by Alvaro Echandia, a 58-year-old retired admiral who was Colombia’s navy commander until September and chief of military intelligence before that.
Echandia says he expects 300 employees initially. One main task will be preventing criminal groups from infiltrating the state.
The DAS employed 5,000 people. It was wracked by scandal over domestic spying and collusion with extreme rightist militias engaged in mass killings and land theft.