The State spent $21.5 million on spying in 10 years
In the Martin Torrijos and Ricardo Martinelli administration, equipment for communication intervention were acquired.
In the last decade, the illegal espionage of politicians and national leaders by the State has made an investment of $21.5 million.
For this same sum, two model schools could’ve been made or hospital centers in any province of the interior.
Although the practice of wiretapping isn’t new, it comes from the time of the military, during the government of Martín Torrijos it tried being institutionalized and in Ricardo Martinelli’s was elevated to its maximum expression and it required a million dollar investment.
During Martinelli’s period last generation equipment was acquired that required a major investment.
Gravest of all, in the end of each settlement, the equipment used by the Security Council disappeared without a trace.
In 2008, Martin Torrijos’ government acquired English, German and Israeli intelligence equipment for $800 thousand. The equipment was bought directly using the portal PanamaCompra, but with the description of computer equipment, without specifying the daily use of it.
In this same period, the Torrijos government was accused of equipping cars with mobile antennas to capture cellphone and telephone signals. This way, they were able to capture conversations inside offices, restaurants, buildings and residences. The equipment could intercept calls in a radio proximity of 500 to 800 meters squared. They had the capacity to capture up to 25 signals of cell phones at the same time.
It wasn’t until two years later, in January of 2011, that the then president of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, denounced the loss of two equipments for intercepting calls of the Security Council. Only three equipments were registered, but only one appeared. It was informed that the equipment was taken to the apartment in Bella Vista, but wasn’t found.
During the beginning of Martinelli’s government, a security plan was put in place to spy politicians, union leaders, journalists and others.
A spiral of spending began that to this day, we aren’t aware of where it ended.
For now, it is known that the equipment purchased from the Israeli company M.L.M. Protection Ltd. was worth $13.4 million.
A few days from the conclusion of the government, the equipment went missing and no clues as to where it might be.
Information arose from the files of an investigation in the hands of the Court detailed the equipment being in Monte Oscuro, where the central offices for business of Martinelli are, but it hasn’t been located.
The government of Martinelli, also made an agreement with the company M.L.M. of four maintenances in which the State spent another $6.3 million, $50 of the initial acquisition.
Lawyers of Martinelli, in an attempt to disassociate him, pointed out that the actual administration of government remains with the same practice espionage and took the case to the Public Ministry.
The president, Juan Carlos Varela, just assures that it’s his way of distracting attention and before the questions about his government performing wiretapping, he sustained that everything is judicialized and that ‘there is no intervention that isn’t authorized’ by the Supreme Court of Justice.
REACTION OF THE EXECUTIVE
‘It’s to distract,’ says Varela.
The President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, dismissed the accusations against members of his government, who are being linked to espionage.
According to the President, the claims presented by the two lawyers of the former president of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, against his minister of Presidency, Álvaro Alemán, and chief of the Security Council, Rolando López, are actions to distract the attention from the processes of the court.
The lawyers have solicited the separation of the officials for abuse of functions. Also, the lawyers of the former president sued five magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice before the National Assembly, for supposed irregularities in the process.
In a clear reference to Martinelli, the president said, ‘everyone in this country knows who was behind the phone tapping,’ reason for which it is being investigated today.
Varela assured that the attention is being deflected from the prosecution of the performance of the members of the previous administration.
‘Now they are trying to accuse others of the same actions they committed,’ said Varela, who was a victim of the phone tapping.
Related Article: El Estado gastó $21.5 millones para espiar en 10 años