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DEA transformed into 'Global Intelligence Organization'
Sticky Situations: Cables written in February by American diplomats in Paraguay, for
example, described the D.E.A.’s pushing back against requests from that
country’s government to help spy on an insurgent group, known as the
Paraguayan People’s Army, or the EPP, the initials of its name in
Spanish. The leftist group, suspected of having ties to the Colombian
rebel group FARC, had conducted several high-profile kidnappings and was making a small fortune in ransoms.
When American diplomats refused to give Paraguay access to the drug
agency’s wiretapping system, Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola
threatened to shut it down, saying: “Counternarcotics are important, but
won’t topple our government. The EPP could.” The D.E.A. faced even more
intense pressure last year from Panama, whose right-leaning president, Ricardo Martinelli,
demanded that the agency allow him to use its wiretapping program —
known as Matador — to spy on leftist political enemies he believed were
plotting to kill him. The United States, according to the cables, worried that Mr. Martinelli,
a supermarket magnate, “made no distinction between legitimate security
targets and political enemies,” refused, igniting tensions that went on