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U.S.-Backed Colombian Army Rife with Corruption

Colombia's most powerful drug-trafficking cartel and rebels from the largest guerrilla group have infiltrated the highest levels of the armed forces — paying an admiral, at least two generals and other officers for information to help them avoid capture, according to the military and other government officials.

The revelation is a serious blow to the military and the Bush administration, which funds and trains the force in its fight against cocaine cowboys and Marxist rebels.

U.S. officials in the embassy said the purging of allegedly corrupt officers underscores advances in the army because the scandal was uncovered and made public by Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.

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