Government | 9/23/2009 12:00:00 AM
Intelligence agency shutting down?
The president announced the closure of Colombia’s intelligence department - DAS – after the crisis it has gone through. How viable is it?
Thursday, during a conference, Uribe said “I am now a supporter of eliminating the institution and leaving a small entity managed by the Police doing the intelligence services”. The presidential words surprised several sectors since it was the first time in his seven-year period that he considered shutting down the intelligence organism with more than 50 years of history. Never before, not even during the darkest scandals that shook the DAS because of the infiltration of the paramilitary during Jorge Noguera’s administration had he considered doing such thing. And even though saying things is a long way from actually doing it, the announcement revealed the concern of the government over this problem that came to notice again in February thanks to the reports made by SEMANA about illegal tapings on journalists, opposition politicians, NGOs and other.
Uribe’s decision comes a week after the United States Department of State said the wiretapping affair was “alarming and unacceptable”. The same week, The New York Times published an article supporting such declarations. Some other international voices added up to his claim along with the internal reports, forcing Uribe to announce the DAS closure as a way of closing a torrid chapter.
It is not the first time deep changes are attempted in the DAS. Actually, this organism could be one of the entities on which a largest amount of studies and diagnosis has been made in order to explain its crisis. Nevertheless, all the projects to do so have failed and have been filed away.
Last week’s announcements finally show that something is being done. The important thing is going the whole way this time. Today, just as during Noguera’s administration, society claims for changes in the DAS and demands justice to reveal the ones who were truly responsible for the illegal actions. It will not be an easy task, but it has to be done.