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Viewing cable 09BOGOTA3035, Uribe Informs Ambassador of DAS Investigation Developments

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BOGOTA3035 2009-09-22 13:01 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0018
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3035/01 2651334
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O R 221334Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0047
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0013
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0013
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ SEP LIMA 0013
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0013
S E C R E T BOGOTA 003035 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/09/22 
TAGS: PGOV KJUS PREL PHUM PINR ASEC CO
SUBJECT: Uribe Informs Ambassador of DAS Investigation Developments 

REF: BOGOTA 3018 AND PREVIOUS 

CLASSIFIED BY: William R. Brownfield, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(B), 
(C), (D) 

SUMMARY 
------- 
1. (S/NF) President Alvaro Uribe emphasized to the Ambassador and 
DCM on September 21 that he is determined to get to the bottom of 
the scandals surrounding the Administrative Department of Security 
(DAS) (see reftels). New evidence indicates that the orders for 
improper wiretaps, including of an auxiliary magistrate (and his 
leaked conversation with a U.S. Embassy official), were obtained 
through legal channels. As DAS Director Felipe Munoz foreshadowed 
three days earlier, Uribe has begun the process of dismantling the 
DAS and reassigning its functions to other entities, and would welcome international assistance in standing up a leaner intelligence agency. The scandals turned the DAS into a domestic and international liability. Per Munoz, the DAS' judicial functions will be transferred to the Colombian National Police (CNP) and the Prosecutor General's Office. The CNP will also take over the Interpol role, and the CNP or Ministry of Interior and  Justice will assume responsibility for protecting at-risk 
individuals. The Ambassador welcomed the decision to dismantle the 
DAS and Uribe's commitment to fully investigate the scandals. 
Munoz hopes to meet with USG officials in Washington on November 
5-6. End Summary. 


PERMISSION FOR IMPROPER WIRETAPS WAS LEGALLY OBTAINED 
----------------------------- 

2. (SBU) President Uribe emphasized to the Ambassador and DCM on 
September 21 that he is determined to get to the bottom of the 
scandals surrounding the Administrative Department of Security 
(DAS). Uribe was accompanied by Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, 
Colombian National Police (CNP) Chief Oscar Naranjo, DAS Director 
Felipe Munoz, Vice Foreign Minister Clemencia Forero, and MFA North 
American Affairs Coordinator Adriana Maldonado. 

3. (S/NF) An extremely animated and agitated Uribe phoned Acting 
Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza at the top of the meeting to 
ask for an update on his investigation into the DAS wiretap scandal 
--which Uribe set to speakerphone for the Ambassador to hear. 
Mendoza reported that Prosecutor General's Office investigators had 
found two signed judicial orders regarding two distinct cases, one 
a kidnapping case and the other an extortion case. The orders 
listed Auxiliary Magistrate Ivan Velasquez' cellular telephone 
number as a target in those cases. The legal judicial order 
carried the signatures of prosecutors from Bogota and Fusagasuga, 
Cundinamarca. 

IT IS UNCLEAR WHO IS  BEHIND THE WIRETAP REQUESTS 
--------------------------- 
4. (S/NF) Mendoza continued that investigators must now determine 
why the prosecutors signed the orders. The intercept requests came 
from the Prosecutor General's Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) 
and the CNP's anti-kidnapping police (GAULA), Mendoza said. (Note: 

Separately, DEA Bogota obtained copies of the orders, which show 
that the improper wiretaps were legally obtained. End note.) 
Prosecutor General Mendoza explained that the intercepts from these 
numbers were the source of the recordings leaked to the news weekly 
"Semana," including the recorded conversation between Velasquez and 
a U.S. Embassy official. In response to Uribe's query, Mendoza 
said that his office has not determined who leaked the recordings 
to Semana. 

5. (S/NF) DAS Director Munoz said that his investigation found that 
prosecutors in Leticia and Choco had been colluding with DAS 
officials to illegally tap telephones. However, the investigation 
remained open. MOD Silva offered that he has received indications 
that prosecutors involved in the Velasquez case received illegal 
payments to bank accounts in the United States. However, he has 
not yet determined who had made the payments or why. Silva asked 
for the Ambassador's help in tracking down the details. The 
Ambassador agreed, but stressed that all such assistance must flow 
through law enforcement channels. Munoz and CNP Director Naranjo 
explained that the wiretap judicial order went through the GOC 
consolidated judicial wire intercept program "Esperanza." While 
DAS is a consumer of Esperanza products through its judicial police 
function, it does not control or administer Esperanza. Munoz said 
that he has audited the DAS terminal that receives Esperanza 
products but not the central Esperanza program or other customers. 

URIBE COMMITTED TO A FULL INVESTIGATION 
--------------------------------------- 
6. (S/NF) An impassioned Uribe said that the legal document put the 
scandal in an entirely different light. He urged Prosecutor 
General Mendoza to call a press conference and explain this new 
development. Uribe recalled that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Navy Pillay, and 
President Obama had expressed their concerns about the DAS to him 
and that his administration has been under a cloud as a result of 
it. He wanted this revelation known before he saw world leaders on 
the margins of UNGA. Uribe excoriated Munoz for his failure to 
resolve the scandal months earlier and for the delay in discovering 
the legal wiretap order. 

7. (S/NF) Uribe agreed with the Ambassador that a thorough and 
transparent investigation into past DAS misdeeds is vital. He 
stressed that the GOC will clarify what happened in the past and 
punish those responsible. Uribe reiterated his comments from 
September 19 to the press that a conspiracy of extradited former 
paramilitary leaders and current criminals was conspiring to impugn 
the credibility of the government. He said that the past six 
months has been an ordeal for him, with many questioning his 
honesty. President Uribe said that he would get to the bottom of 
the scandal to demonstrate his own and his government's honesty and 
credibility. 

INTERNATIONAL HELP IN REFORMING INTEL 
----------------------------------- 

8. (S/NF) In response to the Ambassador's suggestion, Uribe said 
that the GOC would welcome technical help to organize the successor 
agency to the DAS from Interpol or another competent international 
agency. Uribe rejected creating an eminence gris panel to advise 
on the new agency, saying the problems were technical and not political. 

9. (S/NF) On September 18, Munoz told the Ambassador that the DAS 
has prepared an inventory of cases that it works with U.S. law enforcement through its vetted units, and will transfer those cases  to other institutions in an orderly way and in close coordination  with Embassy law enforcement attaches. Munoz said that the GOC has 
drafted a new policy document on intelligence and promised the Ambassador a copy of the draft. Munoz said that the Australian and 
British governments have offered help in organizing the new 
intelligence agency, and that USG help would be welcome. 

10. (C) Munoz said he and Vice President Francisco Santos plan to 
travel to Washington for private meetings with the Inter-American 
Human Rights Commission on November 5-6, and he hopes to meet with 
USG officials at that time. The Ambassador said he would discuss 
the possibility of such meetings with Munoz in few weeks, but could 
not recommend meetings with USG officials for the moment. 


LOSS OF INTERNATIONAL CONFIDENCE DOOMS DAS 
------------------------------------------ 
11. (S/NF) Under instructions from Uribe, Munoz had called on the 
Ambassador on September 18 to relay Uribe's decision to abolish the 
DAS. Munoz explained that the DAS had become both a domestic and 
international liability. He conceded that in his eight months leading the DAS, he had failed to show the public that he was  making progress in reforming the troubled department. The recent wiretap revelations coupled with the international loss of confidence in the DAS shown by the Department of State's comments upon the release of the human rights certification, as well as a letter from UNHCHR Pillay, comments by UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Margaret Seggakya, and OAS officials all combined to cause President Uribe to decide that the DAS has become unsalvageable. The Ambassador stressed that a complete investigation into DAS misdeeds and punishment for those 
responsible was essential. 

TRANSITIONING AWAY FROM DAS 
--------------------------- 

12. (C) Munoz said the GOC plans to transfer the DAS' judicial police functions to the Colombian National Police (CNP) and the Prosecutor General's Office. The CNP will also take over the Interpol role in Colombia. The CNP or the Ministry of Interior and Justice will assume responsibility for protection of at risk individuals, such as labor and human rights activists who have received threats. Munoz explained that the GOC will submit a bill to Congress on September 22 that abolishes the DAS (which as a cabinet level organization cannot be abolished by executive order) and asks the Congress to allow the President to create a new, much smaller organization focused on intelligence, counter-intelligence and immigration control. 


13. (C) For legal reasons, the DAS will continue to have its functions until the new law takes effect. However, the process of transferring responsibility and shutting down the organization would begin immediately, Munoz said. Munoz expected that of the existing 6,500 DAS personnel, 2,000 would be retired or RIFed immediately; and 4,500 could go into other agencies if they met the requirements for those agencies, such as the CNP, Prosecutor General's Office or the new intelligence agency. However, he stressed that most of the employees for the new intelligence agency would be new professionals with no connection to the DAS. 
BROWNFIELD