Colombia’s Department of Administrative Security (DAS) was officially eliminated Oct. 3 after years of scandals concerning paramilitary ties, assassinations, illegal wiretapping and corruption. President Juan Manuel Santos and DAS director Felipe Muñoz formally announced the disbanding of the agency at the Presidential Palace in Bogotá. Replacing the 58-year old DAS will be a new intelligence agency headed by former commander of the navy, Adm. Alvaro Echandia. Interior Minister Germán Vargas Lleras said on Twitter that it will be called the “National Agency of Protection.” Meanwhile, 2,300 DAS employees will be transfered to the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Fiscalia, Colombia’s justice department.
After the imminent dissolving of the DAS became known, employees massively leaked classified documents—revealing that DAS agents provided training to paramilitary forces, were linked to known drug traffickers identified by such aliases “Cuchillo” and “El Loco,” and participated in the attempted murder of now Interior Minister Vargas Lleras when he was a senator. The leaks compromised the identities of 6,022 DAS officials, including undercover agents and informants. Muñoz reacted: “My commitment is to entirely liquidate the DAS and move towards a new institution with better checks and more respect for human rights. Those who leak information, which has happened, are putting peoples’ lives and national security at risk.” (Europa Press, Nov. 1; Colombia Reports, Oct. 31)