Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Latin America Blog

With US money, El Salvador to begin wiretapping to stop organized crime

The US has given a $5 million grant to make the wiretapping possible, writes a guest blogger.

By Tim MuthGuest blogger / April 26, 2012

A member of a new elite anti-gang unit of the National Civil Police attends a ceremony in Comalapa, El Salvador, last week. The over 300-strong unit is equipped with intelligence and investigative tactics developed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Luis Romero/AP

Enlarge

• A version of this post ran on the author's blog. The views expressed are the author's own.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

El Salvador's government will start wiretapping and telecommunications intercept operations from a new center beginning in May announced the country's attorney general Romeo Barahona (link in Spanish). 

The Center for Telecommunications Interception (CIT) was funded with a $5 million grant from the United States. The National Assembly had given the government the power to eavesdrop on phone calls in a law passed in February 2010. The ability to tap phone calls is described as a tool for combating organized crime.

The website InSight Crime describes the US push for these actions in El Salvador and other Central American countries:

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will help train Salvadoran officials, including police and magistrates, in wiretapping operations, stated El Salvador's Attorney General Romeo Barahona. The funds provided by the US will come through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

The US has been pushing "intelligence-led policing" in Central America over recent years, advocating wiretapping operations across the region, according to a February 2012 US Congress report. With the passing of a wiretapping law in Honduras late last year, all seven Central American countries now have legislation in place that allows the practice. 

The US had been pushing especially hard for such a law to be passed in El Salvador, it seems, with a leaked diplomatic cable revealing that "intense engagement" by US officials over a two-year period helped break a legislative deadlock over the new law.  As well as being admissible in El Salvador's courts, evidence gathered from CIT operations can also be used in the US thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two countries in January 2011.

 Tim Muth covers the news and politics of El Salvador on his blog.

Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!