Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Colombian wiretap scandal grows

By Jeremy McDermott
BBC News, Medellin

Felipe Munoz Gomez, director of Colombia's secret police, the Das (image: Das press service)
Agency director Felipe Munoz Gomez announced his deputy's resignation

The director of Colombia's secret police, Felipe Munoz Gomez, says he has the letters of resignation from the entire high command.

As more evidence comes to light of a criminal conspiracy within the force, one deputy director has already gone.

Specialists from the attorney general's office have moved into the Das headquarters to seize interception equipment and start investigations.

It is still unknown how far the rot goes and how many agents are involved.

What started as allegations that some rogue agents of the Das (Department of Administrative Security) could have intercepted the phone calls and e-mails of judges, politicians, government officials and journalists, appear now to be accepted as fact.

The information garnered from their wire taps could have been passed on to criminal elements, drug-traffickers, paramilitaries and even Marxist rebels.

Listening centres

The resignation of Deputy Director for Counter-intelligence Jorge Alberto Lagos has already been accepted - diplomatic speak for his dismissal.

No criminal charges have yet been presented against Mr Lagos, but these have not been ruled out.

The experts from the attorney general's office have occupied the listening centres of the secret police and are inspecting all equipment and records.

Attorney General Mario Iguaran said that, if necessary, he would shut down all the Das's wiretapping operations and said that there were indications of what he described as a criminal cartel in the heart of secret police.

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