In an interview conducted via email, the now applicant for political asylum in Spain, tells how the investigation was initiated to determine those responsible for the interception of the personal accounts of the highest authorities of the Ecuadorian State, political figures and even journalists.
The investigation process in the Comptroller’s Office, according to Romero, had responsibilities against him because he claimed that “El Ruso” did not exist. Now you know who he is and what nationality and specialty he was. Below the transcript of the complete interview.
What did Operation Caminito consist of?
With the legal backing that I am aware that this operation has been declassified by the COSEPE, and because the Office of the Prosecutor is giving blinds in its “search for the truth”, I agree to provide this interview about this operation and to reveal the identity of the so-called “El Ruso”
In the first quarter of 2013, when I was National Secretary of Intelligence, there was a hacker attack against the State and its various functions; and simultaneously to the Governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina and Colombia, by the international anarchist group calling itself Los Centauros. To face this threat, an operation called “Caminito” is organized, for which a foreign adviser “El Ruso”, an expert in cyber defense, who was originally part of that attack group, is recruited.
How long did Operation Caminito last?
Operation “Caminito” was carried out for several months between 2013 and until January 2014; and generated a payment throughout these months in favor of “the Russian”. During the time of the operation, “El Ruso” acted as an advisor to prevent new attacks and a trainer in technological tools to improve the skills of the SIN technical team. All the personal meetings with “El Ruso” and for their safety were made in Uruguay, the place of residence of said advisor, at that time. After my departure, the Intelligence Secretariat continued to count on the support of “El Ruso”. I do not know the name they gave to that operation and I do not know the alias with which they continued to call the Russian.
The Comptroller General of the State (CGE) establishes a report with indications of criminal responsibility for this operation and sends the report to the Office of the Prosecutor, why and what does it have to say about it?
The CGE, in one of the audited quarters (June 1 to August 31, 2013), despite the tests of the agents, technicians, analysts, etc. who confirmed having met and worked with “El Ruso” determined that the operation “Caminito” and “El Ruso” did not exist; and therefore sent in September 2014 to the Attorney General of the State a report with IRP, even without having previously requested the INS itself, the MICS and COSEPE declassification of such operation as required by the National Security Law. In his report the Comptroller General, intends to object on the nature of the operation, on the details of the reports, that is to say on the contents, separating and interfering in subjects alien to his competence; and finally to know the real identity of “El Ruso”.
Hence the alleged embezzlement. It should also be mentioned that the CGE report violates the mandate of the FUNDAMENTATION (articles 76, 7, l). INDICATIONS OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY are stated without mentioning what those indications are.
The referred report covers a quarter of 2012, when the operation lasted about eight months. That is, in the other quarters “there was no” irregularity to speak. The report was biased from the beginning because former Comptroller Carlos Pólit had paranoia of all the security organs and believed that he was watched and observed. I think he has been worried about Odebrecht and others since that time. And really in the Intelligence Secretariat we never had any provision, nor did we act on our own initiative in any investigation of any nature about the ex-comptroller dismissed Polit.
However, with that paranoia that he had, he pressured me to deliver the reports and advisory work that “El Ruso” carried out and also his real identity. We always had discrepancies because of the fact that the law allows you to audit on the use of reserved expenses, but not on the content of the reports produced.
It is interesting to also reveal that the CGE audited me about the special expenses, 8 quarters that corresponded to 6 my direct management and 2 to the management of Raúl Patiño who never appeared as secretary and “delegated” that responsibility which is clearly prohibited by law . And of those 8 audits, the 7 did not have any problems. In addition, there were hundreds of reports with covert identities of agents, informants, etc .; and the real identity of those subjects was never asked
What do you mean by that limit that the Comptroller’s Office has over the scope of the audits on special expenses?
Article 26 of the PUBLIC AND STATE SECURITY LAW indicates:
“From control to special expenses. – The accountability for the use of special expenses incurred by the National Intelligence Secretariat will be held before the General Comptroller of the State under the procedure this official issue for the effect, which will necessarily be established that expenditure must have instrumental support.
Only the documents that allow knowing the destination of the special expenses, but not their beneficiaries, so that they can be declassified within the term of fifteen (15) years provided in this law, will be kept of said documents. The others will be incinerated by the Comptroller. “
REGULATION FOR CONTROL OF PUBLIC FUNDS EXPENDITURE CONTINUING ACTIVITIES AIMED AT intelligence and counterintelligence FOR INTERNAL PROTECTION, MAINTENANCE AND PUBLIC ORDER NATIONAL DEFENSE, states in Article 8. “judgment. – The Comptroller General of the State, personally and privately and non-delegable, will judge the accounts rendered by the Secretary or the National Secretary of Intelligence … “
It is then up to the Comptroller to review the accounts of the special expenses, but not the content of the reports, conclusions or activities of the intelligence or counterintelligence operations.
If you have any doubt or evidence of misuse of special expenses in any intelligence or counterintelligence operation, prior to submitting to the Office of the Prosecutor, any report with indications of liability has the obligation to request the competent agencies to declassify the information
In no case may the Comptroller’s Office proceed without complying with this provision clearly established in the law.
On the other hand, the judgment of the rendered accounts must be made by the same titular Controller. This function is “PRIVATIVE AND INDELEGABLE”, which never happened, since it was always entrusted to third parties, incurring a procedural defect
How did you contact the “El Ruso” for the first time?
Since January 2013 we started to suffer attacks and leakage of important information about the security of the State. I am referring to the passwords of the mail accounts of the main executives of the State; of the President and Vice President of the Republic; of all ministers including Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs; of the Attorney General, of the Attorney General; of the President of the Assembly and dozens of assembly members; of the president of the National Court of Justice, the editor of the newspaper El Telégrafo and other personalities of the government of that time. We spent the following months locating one of those responsible and we won their trust to “recruit” and we arranged the first meeting to evaluate it and determine the feasibility of hiring, on June 15, 2013 in Montevideo. We traveled from Quito to Buenos Aires on June 14 and returned from Buenos Aires to Quito on June 16. With the migratory movement, the assertion can be confirmed. From Buenos Aires we traveled to Montevideo for that meeting, in which participated:
Politologist Carolina Alejandra Andrade Quevedo who, in her capacity as General Coordinator of Intelligence, on that date, participated in the first meeting to evaluate her profile.
Engineer Miguel Loaiza, who, in his capacity as advisor to the Intelligence Secretariat, participated in this first meeting to evaluate the technical profile of the Russian, and coordinate the technical aspects of such cooperation and advice.
Engineer Luis Solís, who in his capacity as an advisor to the Intelligence Secretariat participated in this first meeting to also evaluate the technical profile of “El Ruso”, and coordinate encryption and security issues during the “Caminito” operation.
As a result of this first evaluation meeting, it was decided to hire this advisor on issues of cyberdefense and protection from hacker attacks. Subsequently, in the operation “Caminito”, other officials participated who maintained personal and / or online contact with said adviser.
How much was paid to “El Ruso” for his services and how were the payments made?
He raised fees of 10 thousand euros per month. Walter Olalla Silva, who was an agent of the Counterintelligence Coordination, had as mission to take payments in cash to Montevideo. These payments at the request of “El Ruso” should be in 500 bills. At that time Uruguay did not demand or control the entry of money by airport in such a way that there was never any setback in making such payments. Walter Olalla in turn received the reports on the news of attacks and recommendations made by the Russian. These reports were delivered in magnetic and encrypted media. Mr. Walter Olalla traveled to Uruguay several times
Were there other officials who met with “El Ruso” or who knew of his existence?
Various functionaries met at different times with him, but several also interacted permanently online via encrypted applications. In my training as a sociologist, I did not have more training or knowledge about technology applications, so I did not share it day to day, and there were dozens of operations, some of them running simultaneously. My occupations were strategic, not operational.
There were other officials in Quito, of lower rank, who were aware of the existence of “El Ruso”, since they processed the information received or implemented the defense recommendations suggested. We can mention among these several officials but for their safety I prefer not to mention them now.
Why was this 2014 issue resumed in 2018?
Interesting question. This file had already to be filed, but for reasons that confirm the political persecution not only that it was not filed, but that a fiscal instruction is initiated.
The General Prosecutor initiated the preliminary investigation 065-2014 at the end of 2014 based on the aforementioned Comptroller’s report. We are scheduled to appear before several ex-employees who participated in this operation. We gave our versions and it was clear to the satiety on the real execution of “Caminito”. My version was filed on April 27, 2015. However, from this, instead of filing the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office requested the INS to lift the SECRET status of said operation, which was denied by official letter and ratified the character of Secret.
The Office of the Prosecutor sent an official letter in July 2014 to the MICS (former Ministry of Security Coordination), in which it requests authorization to declassify the “Caminito” operation, to “… assess whether there are sufficient elements to file charges and sustain an accusation.” In October 2015, the MICS replied that it is not appropriate to declassify the information.
The issue is taken to the COSEPE to know about this particular and after 14 months in December 2016, the COSEPE decided to ratify the secret nature of the operation “Caminito”. Instructs the INS to prepare the respective report and refer to the Office of the Prosecutor.
Despite the resolution that was taken in December 2016, not to declassify the information of the operation “Caminito”; the Prosecutor’s Office forwarded the file to the National Court of Justice in January 2017 and requests my “… prison for investigative purposes”. For what he argues: “… evidenced the abuse of public money, because some payments would have been made to a supposed informant called” The Russian “without there being evidence that the latter has delivered the information and there is no certainty in the identity of who received these monies. “
This assertion was made by the Office of the Prosecutor and before the Comptroller, because “The Russian”, when signing the receipts, did so with a disguised identity for obvious reasons. He also argued maliciously and recklessly “… it is essential to have his presence in the tax investigation even more when the Office of the Prosecutor has requested the Ministry of Security Coordination to declassify the information classified as top secret of the documents of the operation called” Caminito “, reason for the present previous investigation “.
At that date (January 2017), not only that the Ministry of Security Coordination had denied declassification, but also in December 2016, COSEPE rejected the request.
On February 13, 2017, the Intelligence Secretariat delivered to the General Prosecutor’s Office the official letter No SIN-DS-0063-2017, where it was recorded that the confidential information classified as “secret” would not be declassified, with which the Prosecutor General asked the judge, the lifting of existing injunctions against me, a fact that occurred in April 2017.
Since that date, the state attorney general’s office did not take any action or diligence on this prior investigation; nor did he attend any of our requests.
And curiously in May 2018, (after more than 370 days of inactivity), and in the middle of the mediated case of political persecution called “Balda Case”, the Prosecutor in charge, signs an order and requests among other actions, that I extend my version and sends again the request for declassification of the road operation to COSEPE.
As I requested in June 2017, asylum to the Kingdom of Spain, I am prevented from fulfilling any activity or meeting with Ecuadorian officials. For that reason, I did not submit the extension of the requested version. But, in addition, never and until now I was informed if the COSEPE, raised the SECRET character of the road operation so that I myself or any of the other officials could render the version. In recent days my lawyers have reviewed the file and have officially confirmed that the COSEPE has lifted the reserved nature of this operation and therefore this interview.
This investigation only ratifies and expresses the will of a political persecution against me, for having been part of the government team of former president Rafael Correa. It is intended to make charges without the prosecution can prove “non-existence” of Russian. On the other hand, I can prove that it exists, since there were several officials who met personally with him.
Do you indicate that the Intelligence Secretariat, after its departure in March 2014, continued with the services of “El Ruso”?
Indeed, my successor in the Secretariat of Intelligence, Lieutenant Colonel Rommy Vallejo, asked me to help him locate “El Ruso” to continue counting on his support, since they had had many problems of attacks on the computer systems of the State by hackers . So I made the relevant contact and traveled to Montevideo, two officials of the Intelligence Secretariat under the orders of Secretary Rommy Vallejo, Police Major Paul Lopez and another person I recently learned is the family of Major Lopez.
Miss Paulina Zumárraga also participated, who acted at the request of Major Paúl López and I understand Rommy Vallejo himself as a liaison between the Intelligence Secretariat and me. We meet on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, at 3:00 pm at the Café del Puerto, Muelle del Buquebus in Montevideo. There I presented “El Ruso” From that meeting I understand a new collaboration operation was generated between him and the Intelligence Secretariat, whose details I do not know. It was the last time I had contact with “El Ruso”.
You mention that the operation “Caminito” is used as a tool of political persecution against you. Why?
This investigation is based on the “nonexistence” of “El Ruso” and not on the content or details of the operation, which with all respect put at risk the stability of any government, including the current one.
With the Office No. SIN-DS-0063-2017, sent in March 2017 to the Office of the Prosecutor, by the National Secretariat of Intelligence, in which the resolution of the refusal to declassify the information classified as secret of the documents of the operation called “CAMINITO”, dictated by the Public Security Council and the Ecuadorian State, not only that the circumstances that motivated the request for my arrest in January 2017 were modified, but that the Prosecutor’s Office must have come to the certainty that the act The investigation was not a crime.
More than three hundred and thirty days elapsed since the presentation of Office No. SIN-D-S-0063-2017, without the Prosecutor’s Office requesting any other diligence; and just on May 14, 2018, in full vortex of the so-called “Case Balda”, this inquiry is reopened and on November 7, 2018 I am charged with the absurd accusation that “The Russian” does not exist. How is it demonstrated “that something or someone does not exist?”
But in this conversation he is not showing it …
On the contrary, as I have indicated above, I can demonstrate how I am demonstrating with dates, witnesses and places that “El Ruso” does exist and therefore “Operation Caminito” was carried out; for that reason I speak of political persecution and violation of human rights for “political hatred and ideological reasons”.
The Office of the Prosecutor committed many errors in the past or acted in bad faith in this previous investigation; and I think it is time for the current authorities to reconsider and stop this persecution without any foundation. They are dedicating hundreds of hours of work, spending state resources, preparing reports and requesting expert reports that with due respect will not serve any purpose.
Who is “El Ruso”? What is his name? What is his nationality? Where does he live?
The “El Ruso” is IVÁN GERMÁN VELÁZQUEZ DURÁN, of Argentine nationality. Former military, ex-policeman, computer engineer. Born on April 23, 1979 (40 years old) Son of Laura María Cristina Durán and surgeon Iván Germán Velázquez
After graduating from the Military College as an officer, he specialized in intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, psychological action, propaganda and electronic warfare. He worked in the Argentine Army, the SIDE (Secretary of State Intelligence) and the PSA (Airport Security Police).
For reasons of being persecuted and / or prosecuted in his country, he settled in Uruguay. I do not know if he is still in Uruguay or because of a dismissal that occurred in 2015, he has returned to Argentina. (I)