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Interpol: No Evidence Colombia Tampered with Captured FARC Data


The international police organization, Interpol, says computer files suggesting Venezuela armed and financed Colombian leftist FARC rebels are authentic and show no evidence of tampering.

Interpol said Thursday that Colombian authorities did not always follow internationally accepted methods for handling computer evidence, but said that did not taint the data.

Colombian authorities seized the computers during a March cross-border raid on a FARC base in Ecuador.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that it has been shown files that indicate high-ranking officials in Venezuela offered to help Colombian rebels obtain surface-to-air missiles. The Post said there is no evidence the rebels obtained the missiles.

The U.S. State Department called the Post report "highly disturbing," and said Washington is conducting its own analysis of the information.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Colombia of fabricating the data and said a "show of clowns" surrounded the Interpol announcement.

The Chavez government has termed the latest charges, in the Post, as laughable and lies. President Chavez also says Venezuela is revising diplomatic, economic and political relations with Colombia.

Several members of the U.S. Congress have called on the Bush administration to list Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism.

President Chavez has dared the U.S. to put his country on the terrorism list, calling it another attempt by Washington to undermine him for political reasons. Venezuela is a major U.S. oil supplier.

Interpol studied the data at Colombia's request.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.