Colombia probes phone tap scandal

Prosecutor orders search of state intelligence agency amid phone tapping claims.

    Colombian officials say 'criminals' illegally tapped the phones of President Alvaro Uribe's advisers. [AFP]

    Spy chief resigns

    Fabio Valencia, Colombia’s interior minister, told the Associated Press that Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian president, had been one of the main victims of the alleged phonetapping. 

    Valencia said a "small group of criminals in the DAS" monitored the phone calls of Uribe's private secretary and some of the president's close advisers.

    Felipe Munoz, the director of DAS, said he had accepted the resignation of Jorge Alberto Lagos, the agency’s deputy director of intelligence, although no evidence showed Lagos was directly involved in the scandal.

    Munoz called the resignation "an administrative measure".

    Bribery allegations

    Uribe, an ally of the United States, has received billions of dollars in US aid in part to fight the illicit drug trade in Colombia.

    But several prominent Colombian security officials have been accused of taking bribes from drug lords.

    Colombia's police chief and the head of police intelligence were dismissed in 2007 over the illegal monitoring and interception of calls of opposition politicians, journalists and government officials.

    Last year, a judge sentenced four members of an anti-kidnapping unit to 11 years in prison for the unauthorised tapping of at least 1,600 phone lines in the country from 1997-2001.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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