Two U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday requested the White House to scrutinize U.S. assistance to Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS after media reports that American money and training was used by the DAS for the illegal spying on government opponents.
In a letter, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) request “a comprehensive accounting of U.S. assistance to the Colombian government’s Department of Administrative Security (DAS) during the period of August 7, 2002 to August 7, 2010,” covering to the day the period former President Alvaro Uribe was in office.
“Specifically, we request a full accounting of all funds, training, lethal and non-lethal equipment, intelligence- and information-sharing, technical assistance, facilities construction and any other aid provided to the DAS, its officials, its employees or any of its contractors during this period, whether in Colombia, the U.S., or at any other facilities,” the Democrats wrote.
The request follows articles in the Washington Post and Colombian media in which it is asserted that U.S. officials and funds were used by Colombian intelligence officials conducting illegal spying on Colombia’s Supreme Court, journalists, opposition politicians and human rights organizations.
The Democrats further ask the White House to reprimand Uribe for remarks made regarding the journalists involved in the Washington Post article.
"We are concerned that former president Alvaro Uribe has made public
statements claiming the reporters who wrote these articles are
terrorist sympathizers (simpatizantes del terrorismo), going so far as
to characterize one reporter as a terrorist ally (ocultador del
terrorismo), language that increases the level of threat under which
journalists work in Colombia. We strongly urge you to make clear to the
former president that such statements are unacceptable and ask that he
The Uribe administration became the center of controversy after former opposition Senator Gustavo Petro found out that he had been illegally wiretapped. A criminal investigation led to the arrest of Uribe’s former chief of staff who is accused of having ordered the illegal wiretaps. Former DAS director Maria Del Pilar Hurtado fled the country before the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant. Several intelligence agents have been convicted for the illegal wiretapping, while Uribe is being investigated by a congressional panel.