Colombia's new attorney general, Vivian Morales, sat down in Bogota last week with the Washington Post's Lally Weymouth. Excerpts are printed below:
L.W. This week the Post ran a story which suggested that some of the U.S. aid for Plan Colombia intended to fight the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] was used by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to spy on [former] President [Alvaro] Uribe's enemies. Is this a case you are working on?
V.M. The investigation was opened two years ago because illegal interceptions were done by the intelligence organization, DAS, on justices of the Supreme Court, political opposition and some journalists.
L.W. The heart of the recent allegation is that U.S. aid intended to fight the FARC was diverted to spying on opposition members by DAS.
V.M. The prosecution's investigation has nothing to do with the deviation of funds. You can't say that these funds were deviated to use for this illegal activity. What was deviated was the authority and power of this intelligence agency.
L.W. Reportedly, there is a widening investigation by the Colombian attorney general's office against the Department of Administrative Services.
V.M. Yes. I am investigating directors and ex-directors of DAS, the intelligence agency of the state. But I repeat—this is an investigation of illegal actions but not of funding deviations.
L.W. What was the motive for the spying? Why was the Uribe administration so worried about the opposition?
V.M. It was a polarizing time—especially when the Supreme Court of Justice initiated investigations against congressmen who [had ties to] paramilitary groups. This [involved] a great number of congressmen who belonged to Uribe's party.
L.W. You and your predecessor have put quite a number of people in jail?