Uribe cleared of criminal liability for exposing Colombia military coordinates

Posted on Mar 28 2014 - 3:58pm by Rico
Alvaro Uribe (Photo: World Economic Forum)

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has dropped its investigation of Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe, saying the former president did not violate any laws when he published sensitive military information on his Twitter feed last spring, reported national media. 

In April of last year, Uribe came under scrutiny for tweeting the coordinates of military operations being suspended in order to allow leaders of the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, to attend ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government.

Uribe argued that the military’s actions amounted to offerring impunity to “terrorists,” but Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said at the time that the former president had “put the security of the state in danger” by releasing the exact locations of troops.

MORE: Alvaro Uribe tweets confidential military information 

Then-House Representative and current Senator-elect Ivan Cepeda, a longtime Uribe opponent, initiated the formal investigation into the incident, and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces each launched their own internal investigations to determine the source of the leak.

Now, the Prosecutor General’s Office has determined that the information in question was not strictly classified and had been shared with organizations outside of the Armed Forces. Uribe, concluded the investigative body, therefore did not commit any illegal act in publishing it.

“No military secret was shared by Alvaro Uribe Velez, who had no duty whatsoever to protect information that was already public knowledge,” the investigative body said in a statement, according to Semana magazine. The investigation was unable to uncover from whom Uribe had received his information, but did specify that the tweet was published after the operations detailed in the leak had been completed, and that there was therefore no risk posed to the troops.

It is unlikely, however, that Uribe knew the status of those operations at the time his tweet was published. And the information, though not a guarded secret, was hardly public knowledge, as the initial reaction to the tweet demonstrated.

A consistently fierce critic of the peace process and the administration of current President Juan Manuel Santos, Uribe has since published several similar leaks via his Twitter feed.

The soon-to-be senator appears to enjoy close relations with active members of the Colombian military, and indeed, it was recently implied, by Cepeda among others, that Uribe was responsible for a secret Army intelligence operation that recorded the communications of opposition politicians, journalists and delegates to ongoing peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government.

Sources

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