Colombia spy chief resigns after surveillance scandal

Colombia’s director of domestic intelligence resigned after her agency was caught spying on a prominent political opponent of President Alvaro Uribe.

Colombia’s director of domestic intelligence resigned after her agency was caught spying on a prominent political opponent of President Alvaro Uribe.

Maria del Pilar Hurtado called her resignation after 14 months as head of the Administrative Department of Security, or DAS, “an act of dignity” in a statement she read to reporters. She did not take questions.

Ms Hurtado said neither she nor Mr Uribe ordered the surveillance of Senator Gustavo Petro, a member of the leftist Polo Democratico party and a key figure in efforts to uncover ties between political allies of the president and far-right death squads.

Ms Hurtado’s resignation comes two days after Mr Petro said he anonymously received two incriminating memos signed by her intelligence chief that ordered regional DAS offices to investigate the senator and his party.

Ms Hurtado fired the intelligence official on Wednesday.

The memos were dated August and September. One ordered that information be gathered on Mr Petro’s “contacts with people who offer to testify against the government”.

The resignation is only the latest scandal to taint the DAS, which reports directly to the president and is responsible for both domestic intelligence and keeping track of foreigners in the country.

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