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 U.S.- Mexican Intelligence Center in Mexico City Causes Stir

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LeftyMike
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PostSubject: U.S.- Mexican Intelligence Center in Mexico City Causes Stir   11/28/2010, 14:27



From Stratfor Global Intelligence (http://www.stratfor.com/)

An article published this past week in popular Mexican political magazine Proceso described a facility in Mexico City called the Office of Bi-national Intelligence (OBI). At the OBI, located along Paseo de la Reforma Avenue near the U.S. Embassy, U.S. intelligence agents reportedly conduct espionage activities on Mexican soil with the approval of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. The office reportedly has representatives from several U.S. agencies, including the CIA, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Defense Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, State Department, and Treasury Department. It is also reported to have opened satellite offices in the border cities of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, and Tijuana, Baja California state, where U.S. agents are setting up task forces against drug-trafficking organizations, assisted by Mexican personnel. The idea that U.S. government personnel are conducting operations, especially espionage operations, on Mexican soil is a contentious political and social issue in Mexico, and press coverage of this center has caused a stir throughout the country.

While the Proceso article just came out this past week, the center itself has been operational for more than a year, designed to facilitate the exchange of information between U.S. and Mexican intelligence agencies to help combat organized crime and drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico. Negotiations for an establishment to facilitate bilateral intelligence cooperation began during the Vicente Fox administration and continued well into Calderon’s term before being approved in late 2008 under the Merida Initiative and going operational in August 2009. A majority of the Mexican security apparatus, particularly the Foreign Ministry, supported the OBI, with the main opposition coming from the Mexican military and navy.

STRATFOR sources in the Mexican government say the OBI’s Mexico City office is smaller both in size and in scope of work than the El Paso Intelligence Center, largely because of concerns over organized-crime penetration and the OBI’s not possessing a sensitive compartmented information facility. The OBI’s official primary mission is reportedly to help implement certain aspects of the Merida Initiative, but it would be naive to think that the U.S. agents do not run at least some unilateral intelligence operations, as many high-priority U.S. intelligence targets, such as Iran, have an established presence in Mexico City.

The OBI was kept in relative secrecy until recently as a security precaution against the inherent threat posed by organized criminal groups in Mexico. However, the pervasiveness of the corruption throughout the Mexican security apparatus means these criminal groups likely knew of the OBI before it was even established. The semi-secrecy surrounding the OBI and the office’s smaller size were both aimed at reducing the possibility of cartel penetration of the center and to keep the political ramifications of the center’s existence within the Calderon administration. However, the outing of the existence — and precise location — of the OBI will undoubtedly cause some disruption to the operations at the main office in Mexico City, as both the U.S. and Mexican agencies will have to determine who and what might have been compromised by this Proceso report. Additionally, the leaking of the existence of the OBI likely will have some serious political blowback for the ruling National Action Party — to which both Calderon and Fox belong — as campaigning for the 2012 presidential election begins.

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Nov. 15
Suspected cartel members used vehicles to set up roadblocks at two separate locations in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon state. The roadblocks were reportedly a reaction to an army operation in the Lomas de la Paz neighborhood.
Soldiers at a roadblock in Jalpa de Mendez, Tabasco state, killed two men in a car after they allegedly fired at the soldiers and tried to escape.
Soldiers in the municipality of General Teran, Nuevo Leon state, killed two suspected kidnappers and freed two kidnap victims after a car chase and firefight with gunmen traveling in a four-vehicle convoy.

Nov. 16
Soldiers in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, arrested four men with five automatic rifles, nine pistols and a fragmentation grenade. 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of marijuana and 110 grams of cocaine were also seized from the suspects, who were reportedly arrested during a military patrol.
Chihuahua State Government Deputy Secretary Carlos Silveyra Saito announced that the army may resume patrols in Ciudad Juarez but did not specify when this would occur.
Police discovered a severed head and its corresponding body in separate neighborhoods in the municipality of Los Reyes de la Paz, Mexico state. A message bearing a claim of responsibility for the crime was discovered near the decapitated body.

Nov. 17
Unidentified gunmen in La Poza, Guerrero state, shot two men to death. Both victims had been blindfolded and one of the bodies reportedly had numerous cuts on its legs.
Police in Toluca, Mexico state, arrested four suspected kidnappers as they were transporting two kidnap victims. The suspects were allegedly planning to use the ransom money to settle a debt with a Mexico City criminal group.
Soldiers killed 11 suspected cartel gunmen during a firefight in Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas state.
Two suspected members of Los Zetas were killed during a firefight with police in Tula, Hidalgo state, after attempting to evade a police roadblock.

Nov. 18
Police arrested a Costa Rican and two Mexicans at the international airport in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, after approximately $50,000 was uncovered in their luggage. The three suspects were allegedly bound for Mexico City.
Soldiers in Tijuana, Baja California state, seized approximately one ton of marijuana from a container truck and arrested one suspect.
Police killed the suspected chief of Los Zetas for Tabasco state, identified as Gabriel Garcia Carballo, in a firefight in Puyacatengo, Tabasco state. Four other suspected gunmen were arrested.

Nov. 19
Unidentified gunmen fired at a car belonging to Gabriel Cantu Cantu, the governance secretary of Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state. Cantu Cantu was not injured during the attack.
Five suspects were arrested by soldiers in Zitacuaro, Michoacan state, for transporting 30 kilograms of marijuana and an unspecified amount of cocaine.

Nov. 20
Municipal police discovered the bodies of two men in Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco state. The two men had apparently been beaten and one had been shot in the head.
Soldiers seized a suspected methamphetamine lab in the municipality of Penjamo, Guanajuato state. The lab is the 16th seized this year in the state.

Nov. 21
Three suspects were killed when their car crashed into a building after they were chased by soldiers in the Cerro de la Silla neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.
Eight people were injured when a vehicle whose occupants were chased by unidentified gunmen crashed into several other vehicles and a building in northern Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The pursuing gunmen shot one of the victims, while the other seven were injured in the crash

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