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New evidence of US role in wiretapping scandal

posted by Natalie Dalton
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New evidence has appeared that suggests the United States embassy provided espionage equipment to the Colombian intelligence agency DAS that was used in illegal wiretapping operations, reported Colombian news source Noticias Uno.

Investigators discovered a PowerPoint presentation put together by the DAS Director of Interior Intelligence that outlined the ways in which they were supported by the United States government.

The presentation showed that the U.S Embassy and the DAS worked together as a group called UTAC, which was “created in February 2005, by means of a verbal agreement between the DAS and the American Embassy.”

It also asserted “all of the activity of this group is oriented towards the fight against terrorist organizations, and on that condition all of the technical and economic resources have been provided by the government of the United States.”

The presentation listed U.S equipment used by the group, including “five cars, 22 items of communication equipment, six computers, a special machine for decoding communications via Avantel, a machine for determining cellphone user location, a special intelligence vehicle, and two scanners…that detect communications in the spectrum”.

The group allegedly used this equipment to carry out several operations, which included illegal monitoring of high officials and public personalities.

The report also revealed that the UTAC collaboration had a budget of roughly $225,000 dollars.

According to investigators, the United States Embassy did not know the funds and equipment would be used by DAS for wiretapping and illegal tracking.

An initial article prompted the investigation after sources asserted that the US supplied the DAS with money, equipment, and training, which were used to carry out the illegal wiretapping and smear campaigns against opponents of the administration of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

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