Guatemalan army takes control of presidential office after security breach

September 6th, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Guatemala City, Sep 6 (IANS) Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom has ordered army units to take over security of his office and home following evidence of extensive infiltration by undercover agents, EFE reported Saturday.Colom told a press conference Thursday seven voice recorders and two spy cameras were found inside the presidential residence and other similar objects were discovered in his private office.

“We found seven recorders and two hidden cameras (inside the presidential residence), two voice recorders in my private office as well as several cameras and voice recorders in the office of the first lady,” Colom said.

The president said following the security breach, he has accepted the resignation of Carlos Quintanilla, head of security for the president, vice president and their families.

“I’ve accepted it (Quintanilla’s resignation) because (his agency) is responsible for security at the presidential residence. I’ve ordered the closure of the presidential residence until such time as everything has been found. I consider this an extremely serious matter,” Colom said.

officials said the spy cameras and the voice recorders were discovered by members of Colom’s closest security staff, a group of former leftist guerrillas who have protected him for more than 10 years.

Colom said “there’s no evidence that Quintanilla is involved” but added that “it could be someone close to him” or someone inside the presidential residence.

The president said army units would remain in control of the presidential residence while investigations are carried out and his personal security team is restructured.

The left-leaning Colom, who describes his government as “socialism with a Mayan face,” ended more than 50 years of conservative rule when he took office in January.

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