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Cablegate: Panamanian Intel Director Confronts Dea

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0777/01 2922135
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 192135Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3866
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 0017
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 3880
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 2076
RUEABND/DEA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

S E C R E T PANAMA 000777

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2029
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR SNAR PM
SUBJECT: PANAMANIAN INTEL DIRECTOR CONFRONTS DEA

REF: PANAMA 639

Classified By: Ambassador Barbara J. Stephenson for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d)

-------
Summary
-------

1. (S//NF) Olmedo Alfaro, Executive Secretary of the
Council of Public Security and National Defense (Consejo),
engaged in two tense encounters with DEA personnel last week,
indicating continued tension over the Embassy decision to
remove the Matador judicialized wiretap program from the
control of the Consejo and put it entirely under the control
of the Attorney General. After berating DEA and FBI agents,
Alfaro declared that he did not need DEA because other USG
agencies would give him what he needed. Alfaro's attitude,
together with an apparent attempt to place an un-vetted
officer on the DEA Sensitive Investigations Unit (SIU),
indicate that members of Martinelli's security team are
nervous about placing our judicialized wiretap program under
the Attorney General's oversight. End Summary.

-----------------
I Don't Need You!
-----------------

2. (S//NF) On October 7 a DEA agent and a TDY FBI agent who
were conducting routine activities in the Matador wireroom
(located on the Consejo office complex and still under the
control of Consejo) were called into Alfaro's office and
told, in a disrespectful tone, that "we know why they fired
your boss! How are we supposed to trust you!" (Note: Country
DEA attach departed Post two weeks ago for personal reasons.
End Note.) He went on to say, "I don't care about DEA because
the CIA will give me everything I need." He further
complained about delayed payments from DEA for the wireroom.
Alfaro then announced, "if you play hardball with us, we will
play hardball with you." Alfaro then calmed down, and
apologized for his outburst, saying he needed to "vent."

---------------------
But Let's Make a Deal
---------------------

3. (S//NF) Two days later, Alfaro called the DEA agent in
charge of Matador into his office to discuss Matador. Alfaro
suggested that the dispute over Matador had been a personal
problem with the previous attach, and that now that he was
gone, Consejo and DEA should "sit down and work out a deal."
Alfaro proposed that the first element of the deal be that
DEA accept his original choice as wireroom supervisor. (Note:
Consejo's firing of the long time Consejo wireroom
supervisor, and attempt to impose an unknown officer was the
beginning of the crisis over th Matador program. End Note.)
He went on to insist that DEA give him an access card to the
wireroom. The DEA agent explained that Consejo held all the
access cards and he could go in whenever he wanted, but
Alfaro insisted that DEA give him a card, "as an act of
confidence."

---------------
SIU Shenanigans
---------------

4. (S//NF) In the same week, the Panamanian National Police
officer who serves as deputy head of the DEA SIU, Capt.
XXXXXXXXXXXX, received a phone call from Sub-Commissioner
Carrillo, his supervisor and the Director of the Judicial
Investigative Police (DIJ), telling him that he was sending
an officer to incorporate into the unit, assuring him that he
had already passed local vetting, and was all right (Note: No
PNP officers may join the SIU until they have been
polygraphed and vetted by DEA. This officer had not been. End
note.)

-------
Comment
-------

5. (S//NF) Alfaro's actions are increasingly unpredictable.
DEA has always had excellent relationships with Consejo and
all Panamanian law enforcement agencies, and routinely allows
Panamanian law enforcement agencies and the GOP to take
credit for huge drug seizures which are actually the work of
DEA. Alfaro seems to give no importance to the long-standing
close ties to USG partners, and to be entirely fixated on
keeping control over the equipment used in the judicialized
Matador program. Post has taken an irrevocable decision to
move the Matador program from its present physical location
on the Consejo grounds, and to put it entirely under the
control of the Attorney General at a location controlled by
her. Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela
has been informed of this decision, and he told the
Ambassador that he had informed Alfaro and Minister of
Government and Justice Jose Raul Mulino and would inform
President Martinelli soon.

6. (S//NF) Alfaro's comments on not needing the DEA may
indicate that the GOP now realizes it cannot use Matador for
political espionage, especially when taken together with the
increasing contact between the GOP and Israeli security
companies. The government's concern that Matador not be
turned over to the A/G, however, and the attempt to place an
officer in the SIU without coordination, may indicate a shift
in concerns from finding dirt on others to protecting
themselves. There are members of the government with
suspected ties to drug trafficking, and there is no reason to
believe there will be fewer acts of corruption in this
government than in any past government. By asking to
renegotiate the Matador deal, and placing un-vetted officers
in the SIU, the GOP may be trying to keep track of DEA
activities to protect themselves from getting caught up in a
U.S. investigation.
STEPHENSON

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