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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ecuador wants official explanation of DAS wiretap allegations

June 28 - Colombia Reports

miguel carvajal, ecuador, fire taps

Ecuadorean security minister Miguel Carvajal insisted that Colombian authorities provide a report on the alleged DAS wiretapping of Ecuador's president Raphael Correa, following a testimony from a DAS official, reports El Telegrafo.

Carvajal said at a press conference that the allegations would "very serious" for the Ecuador's national security, and so the government would approach the matter with precaution.

The minister said that the Ecuadorean government would not take action until an official version of events was provided by the Colombian government and relevant information had been obtained by Ecuador's intelligence agency.

However, Ecuador's prosecutor general's office opened a prliminary investigation into the allegations published in the newspaper, saying that, if true, the wiretapping of Ecuador's president go "against the sovereignty and internal security" of a country.

Prosecutor general Washington Pesantez said that a representative should be "sent to Colombia to investigate and reporton these events.

Ecuador's Police chief Freddy Martinez said that a special investigations unit within the police had been set up to look into the case.

According to the DAS official, who was interviewed by El Universo and wished to remain anonymous, members of the security agency were stationed in the Ecuadorean capital in order to intercept both landline and cellphone calls made from Correa's office.

Two apartments used in the operation were “rented in the centre of Quito” and “in a six-floor building on Av. Gonzalez Suarez, where the equipment worked better,” explained the DAS official.

The surveillance operation was allegedly launched after the Colombian army conducted a raid on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory in 2008, causing diplomatic relations between the neighboring country's to fracture. According to El Universo's informant, DAS's surveillance points in Quito may still exist.

This is not the first time the DAS has been accused of involvement in international wiretap scandals. Last April leaked reports from the trial against DAS revealed that the security agency had carried out illegal monitoring as part of a smear campaign against European organizations, including the EU parliament.

According to the files, the European Parliamentary committee on human rights, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, and certain national governments were deemed a threat to the Colombian government.

Members of the security agency are currently on trial in Colombia for the alleged illegal surveillance and wiretapping activity of a number of the country's magistrates, opposition politicians, trade unionists and journalists.

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