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Colombia eliminates secret service after scandals

Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, disqualifies the country's secret service, after a 58 year-old track record of murder, para-military infiltrations and wire-tapping

AFP , Tuesday 1 Nov 2011
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Colombian President Santos with Venezuela's Foreign Minister Maduro in Bogota (Photo: Reuters)
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President Juan Manuel Santos Monday eliminated Colombia's disgraced secret service after years of embarrassing revelations, including its infiltration by right-wing paramilitaries, the wire-tapping of journalists and judges, and murder.

"Today the DAS (secret service) is 58 years old, and we are going to eliminate it," Santos said in an address at the Narino presidential palace.

"The country knows why we have decided to take this step. It is an important one," he added.

The DAS reported directly to the president.

Starting in the early 2000s it was linked to a string of scandals due to its infiltration by members of the Colombian Self-Defense Units, paramilitaries that disbanded in 2003 and 2006.

Several of its staff, including former directors, were linked to investigations of illegal activities including the phone-tapping and harassment of Supreme Court judges, politicians and journalists who were critical of former president Alvaro Uribe, in office from 2002-2010.

DAS duties will be divided among other agencies, including the Foreign and Interior ministries, police and prosecutors' offices, Santos said.

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