2 more resign from troubled Colombia spy agency

Two more top deputies resigned from Colombia's domestic spy agency on Tuesday as prosecutors investigate allegations of improper eavesdropping on journalists, Supreme Court judges and opposition members.
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Updated on Feb 25, 2009 01:02 PM IST
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AP | By, Bogota

Two more top deputies resigned from Colombia's domestic spy agency on Tuesday as prosecutors investigate allegations of improper eavesdropping on journalists, Supreme Court judges and opposition members.

The Department of Administrative Security, or DAS, announced in a statement the resignation of its deputy directors of analysis and operations, Gustavo Sierra and Marta Leal, without elaborating on the departures.

On Sunday, the agency's deputy director of intelligence resigned. Prosecutors have searched wiretapping facilities at the agency after Colombia's leading newsmagazine reported about the interception of e-mails and phone calls through at least the end of last year.

Chief Prosecutor Mario Iguaran has complained that prosecutors sent to inspect eavesdropping operations were given the run-around by DAS personnel, who directed them to the wrong offices or went searching for keys.

The spy agency answers directly to President Alvaro Uribe, but the administration has cast Uribe as a victim of the alleged unauthorized wiretapping.

The DAS has been plagued by scandal under Uribe. His first DAS director is in jail on criminal conspiracy charges for allegedly colluding with far-right militias, including providing them with lists of union activists to target for assassination. Another was forced to resign in October after leading opposition Sen Gustavo Petro was leaked documents showing that one of her subordinates had ordered he be spied on.

Felipe Munoz took over as director of the agency in January. Wiretapping scandals are nothing unusual or new in Colombia. All the country's illegal armed groups _ drug traffickers, paramilitaries and rebels _ have engaged in the practice.

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