Months after reports initially emerged that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring the online activity of the Colombian citizenry, the New York Times revealed this weekend that the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, was also targeted by the American intelligence body.
The article reported that the NSA used advanced eavesdropping technology and frequent flyovers above Colombian airspace to aid the Colombian Army in tracking and fighting the FARC.
“The agency’s eavesdropping gear, aboard a Defense Department plane flying 60,000 feet over Colombia, fed the location and plans of FARC rebels to the Colombian Army,” read the report.
The FARC have yet to release a statement responding to the revelations, though it’s doubtful that the news will come as a surprise to the rebel group’s central command.
Since labeling the FARC a “terrorist group” over a decade ago, the United States military and intelligence communities have been active partners in the Colombian government’s 50-year conflict with the rebels.
Former United States President George W. Bush and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in particular fostered a relationship that has seen billions of dollars in military aid, as well as tactical training and mission support, flow into Colombia in the name of combatting the FARC and ELN rebel groups.
Current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was a strong proponent of intelligence and military cooperation between the two countries during his time as Minister of Defense under the Uribe administration.
Santos has stayed relatively quiet regarding the growing NSA espionage scandal, especially in comparison to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Argentine President Kristina Kirchner and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, all of whom have publicly condemned the NSA’s spying program and demanded the United States answer for its widespread data mining and targeted spying program.