The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been engaged in a covert war in Colombia for a decade including an assassination campaign against rebel forces in the country, according to a new report.
A detailed investigation by the Washington Post has found that the CIA’s covert action program has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders.
The secret program includes intelligence assistance to Colombian forces with “substantial eavesdropping help” from the National Security Agency to identify members of the left-wing rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).
In addition to real-time intelligence to hunt down rebel leaders, the CIA provides the Colombian forces with a particularly effective tool with which to kill them, the report said.
The weapon, according to the Post’s findings, is “a $30,000 GPS guidance kit” that transforms a 500-pound gravity bomb into a “highly accurate smart bomb” also known as precision-guided munitions or PGMs.
Smart bombs “are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain,” the report said.
The covert program is funded through “a multibillion-dollar black budget” which is separate from the public $9 billion package of mostly US military aid called Plan Colombia.
The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by former president George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Barack Obama, US military, intelligence and diplomatic officials told the Post.