Colombia Has Been Using US Drones Since 2006

Planes have been used to fight drug traffickers, terrorists

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 24, 2011 9:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – US spy drones have been in the skies over Colombia scouting for drug traffickers and guerrillas since 2006, a newly released State Department cable reveals. The drones were initially sent out to “support hostage rescue efforts,” reads the cable from the then-ambassador to Colombia, “But it promises to be equally useful for combat against terrorists and in riverine drug interdiction.”

It’s unclear if the drones are being operated by the US military or the Colombia's. But the cable notes instances in which the drones and Colombian air forces have worked in tandem, with the drone spotting FARC fighters or shipments, and Colombia launching swift aerial assaults, the Washington Post reports.

In an Oct. 25, 2007 file photo a Predator drone unmanned aerial vehicle takes off on a U.S. Customs Border Patrol mission from Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
In an Oct. 25, 2007 file photo a Predator drone unmanned aerial vehicle takes off on a U.S. Customs Border Patrol mission from Fort Huachuca, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin/file)
A mockup of Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance System plane RQ-4 Global Hawk is on display during a press briefing, March 24, 2010.
A mockup of Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance System plane RQ-4 Global Hawk is on display during a press briefing, March 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa, File)
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