A previously undisclosed CIA program has helped officials in Colombia cripple the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an anti-government guerrilla group that has waged a bloody insurgency campaign inside the country for nearly five decades, The Washington Post reported.
The covert action, which was authorized by President George W. Bush and has continued under President Obama, includes intelligence for airstrikes and GPS kits to guide smart bombs, according to the Post.
It also reportedly includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency.
Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met at the White House earlier this month in a bilateral summit designed to signal a transition from a partnership “based on helping the Colombian law enforcement” to one addressing labor, human rights, and land issues in the South American country, according to administration officials.
“Certainly our security and defense relationships remain important, but they’re being more and more overtaken by this work that is more about promoting economic development,” a senior administration official said.
Obama told reporters after the meeting that Santos was doing the right thing in seeking "a lasting and just peace" with FARC.
Battles with FARC rebels, which intensified in the 1990s, have fizzled in recent years, after the Colombian government — aided by U.S. military assistance — was largely able to turn back the insurgent attacks.
Now, Colombia and U.S. officials are hopeful that peace talks taking place in Havana can bring an end to the civil conflict that has taken nearly a quarter million lives.
--Justin Sink contributed to this report.