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Colombia downplays report of CIA covert program

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BOGOTA, Colombia » Colombia’s government is downplaying a newspaper report that a covert CIA program helped it kill two dozen rebel leaders.

Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said today that cooperation with the U.S. intelligence and special forces has been going on for some time and is widely recognized as having been instrumental in helping break the backs of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The Washington Post on Sunday detailed features of a CIA program that boosted Colombia’s ability to eavesdrop on FARC communications and transform regular munitions into GPS-guided "smart bombs" that were used against high-priority FARC targets.

The multibillion-dollar CIA program was funded secretly and separately from $9 billion in mostly military aid that the U.S. has provided to Colombia over the past decade.

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