Ecuador Internacional

In a Secret Bunker in the Andes, a Wall That Was Really a Window

Before a video interview with an Ecuadorean intelligence chief, I thought I was adjusting a dimmer switch. What I inadvertently revealed broke our story open.

The New York Times - Jonah M. Kessel 26/04/2019

We were in a secret unmarked bunker built into the side of the Ecuadorean Andes.

It belonged to Senain — Ecuador’s secretive intelligence agency.

Feared among activists, journalists and political opponents, Senain was widely accused of spying, overreach and ideological and political intimidation and repression.

We were in Ecuador reporting on ECU-911, a Chinese-made surveillance system that had been installed across the country. Both ECU-911 and Senain were put in place by Rafael Correa, a former leader of Ecuador who had an authoritarian bent.

There are thousands of ECU-911 cameras in Ecuador. They all feed into a few centralized surveillance rooms, where dispatchers from multiple agencies view the footage in real time. Those dispatchers help direct police officers on the ground to catch criminals, and emergency medical workers to react in emergencies.

Officials told us the system was directly responsible for a massive drop in crime across the country. But activists, political dissenters and journalists had a different story. They said the system was also used for spying.

After a week of hearing these two very different narratives, we landed an extremely rare interview with the country’s intelligence chief, Col. Jorge Costa, who was the head of Senain at the time.

Read more here

Fuente Original