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United States Surveillance Efforts Tracking Drug Flights in the Andes to Resume


July 1994

The Clinton Administration has decided to resume sharing information from surveillance efforts to locate drug smuggling flights in Colombian and Peruvian airspace. (Steven Greenhouse, "U.S. to Resume Spy Flights To Help Latin Drug Efforts," New York Times, 6/24/94, A1).

The Pentagon discontinued the radar and aerial surveillance operations in May, because of the possibility of liability to people injured or killed when suspected drug flights are shot down by Andean governments using information supplied by the U.S.

The Pentagon was also concerned that U.S. personnel could face civil or criminal liability under statutes against terrorism if information they provide were used to shoot down civilian aircraft.

The Administration has come under pressure from Congress and the Andean nation's governments to continue supplying the information. The Administration proposed amending U.S law so that criminal liability is waived for actions in countries that have serious problems with drug traffickers and who take measures to avoid shooting down innocent aircraft.