Four Ecuadorian cops under scanner for spying

February 17th, 2009 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Quito, Feb 17 (IANS) Four senior officers of Ecuador’s national police are under investigation for unauthorised sharing of confidential security information with US diplomats, Interior Minister Gustavo Jalkh has said.

In a press conference Monday, Jalkh identified the officers involved in the illegal practice as Major Eduardo Silva, Captain Guido Nunez, Capt. Jorge Antonio Adati and Capt. Francisco Saavedra, EFE reported Tuesday.

The allegations against the cops came two weeks after President Rafael Correa expelled Armando Astorga, the attache of the US Homeland Security Department at the embassy in Quito, who had sent a letter to the national police terminating Washington’s logistical support for the law enforcement agency.

National Police commander Jaime Hurtado said an investigation against the four cops was under way and a report in this regard was expected soon.

Jalkh said the current probe will “serve as a springboard for restructuring the special investigative units within the national police”, especially given suspicions of US interference in the operations of those units.

The Ecuadorian president had earlier alleged that US officials had routinely played a role in selecting the top officers of the national police’s Center for Anti-smuggling Operations, or COAC, and other elements of the police force under the terms of “verbal” cooperation agreements.

Offended by Astorga’s letter, Correa ordered the police to return all equipment they had received from the US embassy, which mainly consisted of computers.

But when it subsequently emerged that classified information had been left on the computers handed over to the embassy, the president demanded an investigation.

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