Organization and Operation of Intelligence Networks
Colombian Armed Forces Directive No. 200-05/91

National Defense Ministry
Military Forces of Colombia
Command Headquarters
Order No. 200-05/91 

Directiva y Comentario en Español

2. Information

a. Background

(1)    The Defense Ministry, based on the recommendations made by the commission of advisors of U.S. Military Forces, has ordered the Restructuring of Military Intelligence at all levels.

(2)    In the face of escalating terrorism by armed subversion, the National Government decided to support the Military Forces with extraordinary resources, authorizing the creation of Mobile Brigades and increasing the intelligence capability of the Military Forces.

3. Implementation

a. General Mission

        The General Command of the Military Forces will immediately assume the direction and coordination of the organization of urban and rural intelligence networks of the three branches of the Military Forces to increase their intelligence capability.

b. Specific Missions

(1)    Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)

  • (a) Supervises the implementation of this Order.
  • (b) Coordinates as necessary to ensure that in the implementation of this Order timely and efficient support is provided by those agencies of the State that are involved in the procedures to acquire the needed resources and supplies.
(2)    Deputy Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Supervises the resources allocated by the National Government to organize and operate the networks.
(3)    Department D- I JCS
  • (a) Coordinates with the Forces and consolidates the needs for personnel.
(4)    Department D-2 JCS
  • Coordinates all aspects of the organization, instruction, outfitting, and operation of the intelligence networks of the three Forces.
(5)    Department D-4 JCS
  • (a) Centralizes the equipment needs of the networks
  • (b) Ensures that all procedures for the acquisition of supplies are carried out without delay, maintaining contact with various State agencies to ensure they proceed swiftly.
(6)    National Army
  • (a) Organizes fifteen Urban Intelligence networks, each with three Officers, five Non-commissioned Officers, five Control Agents, and twenty-five Intelligence Agents.
  • (b) Organizes fifteen Rural Intelligence Networks, each with three Officers, four Non-comm issioned Officers, ten Control Agents and fifty Intelligence Agents.
  • (c) These networks will be directly linked to the Intelligence Battalions of the BR-20, but they will provide direct support to the Divisions and Brigades.
  • (d) Orders the acquisition of all elements required to activate the networks, such as:
    • Transportation
    • Communications
    • Technical Supplies
    • Office Equipment
    • Etc.
(7)    National Navy
  • (a) Organizes four Port Intelligence Networks with three Officers, five Non Commissioned Officers, and twenty-five Intelligence Agents.
  • (b) The networks will be directly linked to National Navy Intelligence, but will be under the operational command of the Naval Forces or the Naval Infantry Brigades.
(8)    Air Force
  • (a) Organizes five Airport Intelligence Networks with three Officers, five Non-commissioned Officers, and twenty-five Intelligence Agents.
  • (b) Organizes two Rural Intelligence Networks with three Officers, four Non-commissioned Officers, and sixty Intelligence Agents.
  • (c) The networks will be directly linked to Intelligence, but will provide direct support to the Air Force Units designated by the Commander.
c. Instructions on Coordination

(1)    Personnel Management

  • (a) The study, selection, instruction, training, location and organization of these networks, urban as well as rural, will be covert and under the responsibility of the Division and Brigade Commanders, or their equivalents in other forces, and the Network Commanders.
  • (b) The Division and Brigade Commanders, based on their knowledge of the jurisdictions assigned, are to propose a list of candidates, whether civilians or retired military personnel, for integration into the network cadre.
  • (c) To ensure compartmentalization, instruction and training should be in person and supported by written texts which shall be returned once the process has been completed.
  • (d) The analysis of the area to be covered and the objectives contained in it should make it possible to establish the targets and the technique to use.
  • (e) The Intelligence Battalion Commanders will be under the operational command of the Division Commanders and their intelligence networks. Although the intelligence networks are part of the Intelligence Battalions, they will be under the operational command of the Brigades or their equivalent in the other Forces.
  • (f) The administration of the networks will be covert and compartmentalized allowing for the necessary flexibility to cover targets of interest.
  • (g) The Network Chief should establish mechanisms of communication with the Unit supported so as to guarantee the timely supply of information and intelligence at every level.
  • (h) Once this report is received, the Military Forces are to begin a study to select and recruit the personnel needed as well identify the areas where these networks will operate.
  • (i) The members of the network should avoid going to military installations.Contacts and exchanges should be secret and always directed by the Brigade Commanders and Commanders of Tactical Units or their equivalents.
(2)    Handling of Funds
  • (a) Funds for monthly expenditures incurred by the networks will be provided by the General Command to the respective Forces. Control of the funds will be the responsibility of the respective Directors of Intelligence of each Force.
  • (b) The procedures to legally account for funds allocated for Classified Expenditures shall be pursuant to the procedure set forth in Order No. 0 11/89 on Classified Expenditures and Circular No. 1275/9 1, Instructions on Classified Expenditures.
  • (c) The funds will be allocated under the following categories:
    • Operating Costs
    • Maintenance and acquisition of supplies
    • Payment of Agents and Informants
        This scheme is as provided for in the Standing Order on Intelligence and Counter Intelligence 200-3/87, Chapter 111, "ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS."
  • (d) The funds for the Army will be distributed as follows:
    • From the Armed Forces General Command to the Army Command (DINTE)
    • From the Intelligence Directorate to the Twentieth Intelligence and CounterIntelligence Brigade.
    • From the Twentieth Brigade to the Intelligence Battalions
    • From the Intelligence Battalions to the networks.
    In the case of a very large payment for information, over and above the sum allocated for each network, a request should be directed to the Intelligence office of the respective Force.
  • (e) For the National Navy and Air Force, the funds shall be distributed as follows:
    • From the Armed Forces General Command to the Intelligence Directorate
    • From the Intelligence Directorate to the Network Commands.
(3)    Network Management


  • (a) Network Chief

  • The Network Chief is in charge of administering the network's human and material resources, as well as organizing, directing, and orienting the search effort, consistent with the missions assigned or that may arise in light of the specific problem in a given area.


    Active-duty officer with broad knowledge of the area, of the problem, ability to make contact with persons in the zone, and to maintain a facade. In addition, he organizes and operates the network.

    He determines targets of interest to Military Intelligence that are to be covered in his area, engages in analysis, and evaluates the information gathered. He provides the relevant information to the Brigade and Division Commanders in a timely, clear, and accurate fashion.

He establishes coordination and control mechanisms to receive and disseminate the information. He opens accounts to receive the funds earmarked for managing the network.

He provides direct support to the Divisions and Brigades and their respective equivalents regarding the information, and supervises the Area Chiefs.

  • (b) Area Chiefs

  • The Area Chiefs are Intelligence Agents with the experience required to be accountable for a specific sector of the critical area and to manage the Control Agents required to cover that area.


    Area Chiefs should be retired or active-duty Officers or Non-commissioned Officers, and should have a cover, a false identity, a vehicle, and a pre-established communications system; they should also be located at an easily accessible site, and should establish mechanisms to make contact with the Control Agents. An Area Chief could also be a civilian with training and influence who is trustworthy.

    Each Area Chief will ensure that the Control Agents do not know one another, and will keep the Network Chief informed through secret mechanisms; if the importance of the information so warrants, he will meet personally with the Network Chief.

    He must be familiar with his area and establish the different targets as well as their priority. He assigns the Control Agents the places where they are to recruit informants.

    They undertake concise analysis, and evaluate the information before passing it on to the Network Chief

  • (c) Control Agents

  • The Control Agents are directly under the Area Chief, and are to be civilians or retired non commissioned officers with some experience and certain qualities.

    They are in charge of covering the targets; they manage and direct the search effort of the Intelligence Agents.

    They are in direct contact with and come directly under the Area Chiefs.

  • (d) Intelligence Agents

  • Insofar as possible they should be retired Noncommissioned Officers trained to handle informants, process information, and to pass it on through the Control Agent in a timely fashion.

    They should have detailed knowledge of the area, its population, problems, and the operational situation.
  • (e) Informants
They provide information on topics of interest to Military Intelligence and in general they are not members of the Institution.

Informants' duties:

- To obtain information on the assigned target.

- To pass on to the Intelligence Agent the respective information about his target, in timely, accurate, and clear fashion.

- To ensure the greatest possible degree of compartmentalization with respect to the persons with whom he lives.

Bearing in mind that there are different classes of informants, insofar as is possible they will be recruited informants.

This is in view of the fact that recruited informants yield better results, since they are selected, recruited, oriented, and directed by an Intelligence Agent in their search for information.

Techniques for recruiting an informant:

To recruit an informant, the following techniques should be taken into account and followed step by step; this will guarantee the quality of information to be collected. These steps are:

- Preliminary study
- Initial contact
- Cultivate and develop the contact
- Orientation and training.

    Causes for dismissing an Intelligence Agent:

    - Violation of security
    - Fraud
    - Incompetence
    - Breaking the law
    - Considerations of force majeure
    - Unknown whereabouts

  • (f) Rural Network
The operation of this network in terms of personnel should be similar to that of the urban network. Measures should be taken to ensure that the physical appearance, dialect, and customs are similar to those of the area in which the intelligence activity is being carried out.
(4)    Miscellaneous Aspects
  • (a) In recruiting informants their access to information should be taken into account; one must avoid insofar as possible being guided by friendship, familiarity, camaraderie, etc.
  • (b) It is important to avoid visits by the Control Agents and the Informants to the place of residence of the Network Chief-, the established channels should be used for any communications among them.
  • (c) It is to be emphasized that the networks should be managed covertly, adopting the approach that an intelligence network requires.
  • (d) The orders and guidance on intelligence should not be drawn up in writing.
  • (e) Urgent recruitment of informants should be based on quality and not quantity.
  • (f) The Control Agents should maintain permanent contact with their informants, and should do their utmost to avoid making sporadic visits.
  • (g) Specific missions should be determined for each of the informants, based on knowledge of and access to the target of interest, as well as their training and experience for such purpose.
  • (h) One should not promise what cannot be done or what one has no intention of doing.
  • (i) There should be no written labor contracts with the informants or with any civilian member of the network, nor should any be entered into. Everything should be done orally.
  • (j) Under no circumstance shall written confirmation be issued attesting to anyone's employment by the Intelligence Agencies.
  • (k) Upon recruiting an informant, the Ministry of Defense shall not acquire any labor-related or legal liabilities.
(1) Experience has shown that on some occasions it is more advisable to pay for information than to have fixed informants who ultimately become information-peddlers, or produce little and poor-quality information, since they receive a fixed salary.

(5)    Administrative Aspects

       The investment of resources requires careful logistical assessment and methodical planning to ensure their use is optimal.

(6)    System of Operation and Organization

  • (a) The rural networks of the Army, the National Navy, and the Air Force will operate on the basis of critical areas, and their territorial placement and distribution will be determined by the Division and Brigade Commanders or their equivalents based on the existing situation. In any event it is necessary for the rural network to be located in a well-defined critical area under the responsibility of a Minor Operational Unit Command to avoid duplication of effort.
  • (b) The National Navy may establish river networks in zones with rivers, in addition to the rural networks assigned. Instructions should be issued to that effect, including operational requirements.
  • (c) When a rural network is to be established, the critical area should first be chosen; if it is very large, it is advisable to divide it into two sub areas, and to place an Area Chief in each one. The Area Chiefs command the Control Agents, who are located in the major municipalities of the area and in appropriate rural sectors.
    These Control Agents, in turn, command the Intelligence Agents, who in turn control the informants.
  • (d) The urban networks of the Army are organized in intermediate-size cities and capital cities so as to ensure a permanent flow of information about subversion. Determining the areas and placement of the Control Agents within the city selected is a responsibility of the Brigade and Division Commanders.
  • (e) The urban networks of the National Navy are organized around Ports, in that their area of operations includes the shipping and fishing companies, dockyards, and other official and private agencies that have to do with port activities. An effort should be made to avoid the trend whereby these networks would be concentrated in the city where the Port is located; to the contrary, they should be distributed throughout the coastal and riverine areas assigned.
  • (f) The urban networks of the Air Force are called airport networks and are organized in the airports; their Control Agents cover the other airports of the area selected. Their area of activity will be official and private air transport companies, both national and foreign, pilot clubs, pilot schools, maintenance shops, tourism companies, and in general all organizations that have to do with air traffic. Special attention should be given to the control towers and to operation of the airport; but measures should be taken to ensure the network's coverage is not limited exclusively to airports.
(7)    Command and Communications


(8)    Inspections and Regulation

  • a) Based on the timetable established, the organization of urban, rural, port, and airport intelligence networks should begin to operate in the second half of 1991. For this reason, the Commanders of the respective Forces schedule inspections during this period, and the General Command will verify the instructions contained herein on the following dates: Last week of August and last week of October.
  • b) Guided by the instructions contained in this Order, the Commanders of the respective Forces are preparing instructional primers on network organization, training, management, and operation, as follows:
    • National Army: rural and urban networks
    • National Navy: river and port networks
    • Air Force: airport networks
This regulation should be sent to the General Command 3008:00 APRIL-91

Directive No. 200-05/91 concerning the "Organization and Function of the Intelligence Networks," Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Fuerzas Militares de Colombia, Comando General, Directiva No. 200-05/91, "Organización y Funcionamiento de las Redes de Inteligencia," April 1991. 

From: Colombia's Killer Networks: The Military-Paramilitary partnership and the United States ;
by Human Rights Watch -- Appendix A (English translation from the original)

Colombia’s Killer Networks: The Military-Paramilitary Partnership and the United States.

November 1996, ISBN: 1-56432-203-344.
Webpage by Paul Wolf

"Colombia's Killer Networks: The Military-Paramilitary Partnership and the United States.

The junior and mid-level officers who tolerated, planned, directed, and even took part in paramilitary violence in Colombia in the 1980s now occupy senior positions in the Colombian military. To be sure, a few, linked to well-publicized cases, have been forced into retirement or dismissed, but many more have been awarded medals for distinguished service and lead Colombia’s troops. As commanders, they have not only promoted, encouraged, and protected paramilitary groups, but have used them to provide intelligence and assassinate and massacre Colombians suspected of being guerrilla allies. In fact, many victims—community and peasant leaders, trade unionists, and human rights monitors among them—have no ties to guerrillas, but have been trapped in a conflict where few wear uniforms or admit their rank. Human Rights Watch has obtained evidence, including the heretofore secret Colombian military intelligence reorganization plan called Order 200-05/91 and eyewitness testimony, that shows that in 1991, the military made civilians a key part of its intelligence-gathering apparatus. Working under the direct orders of the military high command, paramilitary forces incorporated into intelligence networks conducted surveillance of legal opposition political figures and groups, operated with military units, then executed attacks against targets chosen by their military commanders. Human Rights Watch has also documented the disturbing role played by the United States in support of the Colombian military. Despite Colombia’s disastrous human rights record, a U.S. Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency team worked with Colombian military officers on the 1991 intelligence reorganization that resulted in the creation of killer networks that identified and killed civilians suspected of supporting guerrillas.

View the summary and recommendations of this report."

- La disuelta brigada XX era la responsable de la coordinación de la inteligencia militar en Colombia

- El sistema de inteligencia militar utilizado en Colombia era coordinado por la disuelta brigada XX y fue creado bajo la dirección y planificación de los USA

Documento editado electrónicamente por el Equipo Nizkor, en Madrid a 28 de diciembre de 1999

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