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Spies ‘R U.S.

15 November 2010

Jorge Carrasco A. and  J. Jesús Esquivel, in Proceso (my translation):

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 14 (Process) .- Under Felipe Calderón’s administration, the United States has done what it  always aspired to: embed espionage agents in Mexico City. It was the rise of drug trafficking in the country that opened the door for U.S. intelligence agencies, predominantly military, to operate from the Federal District without even the fig-leaf of diplomatic cover.

Establishment of the Office of Binational Intelligence (OBI) – which began with discussions under President Vicente Fox Quesada – was authorized by Calderon, after negotiations with Washington in meetings attended by the director of the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), Guillermo Valdés Castellanos, without taking into account military objections.

Through the OBI, Calderón has ushered in U.S. intelligence agents to investigate without impediment organized crime syndicates and drug traffickers. They also keep tabs on Mexican government agencies, including the Secretariat of National Defense and the Navy, as well as diplomatic missions in Mexico.

From their headquarters at Paseo de la Reforma  agents from the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Treasury, are working approximately 250 meters from the United States Embassy.

Within the OBI , the Pentagon has the largest presence, with agents from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Security Agency (NSA).  There are also agents from three Department of Justice agencies:  the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  Two Homeland Security Agencies – Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – and the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI), round out the contingent.

In addition, the OBI opened two satellite offices:  one in Ciudad Juarez and one in Tijuana, where U.S. agents command “task forces” against drug trafficking, supported by Mexican personnel.

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