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Colombia shuts down intelligence agency

The Americas Post - Colombian President Santos has pulled the plug on an intelligence agency. Photo credit: Reuters

On Monday Colombia shut down a controversial intelligence center for surveillance and illegal interception of communications to magistrates, journalists and politicians who opposed the administration of ex-president Alvaro Uribe.

President Juan Manuel Santos said that responsibilities of the Administrative Security Department  (ASD) will be taken over by other agencies like the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of the Interior, the Justice Dept and the National Police.

“This is not a transformation, this is not reform”, said president Santos.  “In the case of the ASD, it’s a liquidation.  The ASD is closed.”

The Colombian leader said that 92% of the 6,000 ASD staff members will be transferred to other agencies while the rest continue with the process of shutting down the agency.

Santos took the step using special powers authorized by the Colombian congress to modernize the state, under which he re-established the Ministries of Justice and Labor.

Illegal surveillance by the ASD resulted in one of the most serious scandals faced by the Uribe administration during that president’s second term.  Uribe led the nation of 46 million from 2002 to 2010.