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Spy centennial

2 July 2013

Let us now praise(?) clandestine men…

May 24 marked the 100th anniversary of the arrival in Mexico of the first official U.S. government spy. Hale’s report to his immediate supervisor — newly elected President Woodrow Wilson — was sent  dated June 18, 1913.

The report itself was simple confirmation that the U.S. ambassador,  Henry Lane Wilson, worried about the “lunatic” ideas put forth by President Francisco I. Madero, had actively supported his overthrow.  The immediate consequence was that Lane Wilson was recalled.

haleBayard Hale continued travelling throughout Latin America as an envoy, although his real job was informing Wilson of what he saw, which complemented the work done by another group, code named “the dark room” … code breakers intercepting telegrams from the Mexican revolutionary generals in 1913-14.  According to historian James Bamford, the “dark room”  was a remote ancestor of the current National Security Agency (NSA).

Wilson and his agents in 1915 staged another intervention in Mexican political life, when they learned that the ousted Victoriano Huerta, encouraged by the Germans, sought to return to Mexico. German interest was obvious: U.S. prevent entry to the European war.

After the First World War, during a congressional hearing, it was also discovered that Hale had been working for another intelligence service, that of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

(Excelsior (Mexico City); Gods, Gachupines and Gringos

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 July 2013 3:38 pm

    Years later, Henry Lane Wilson wrote in his autobiography a description of the events of the day he was removed from Mexico, July 17, 1913. He wrote that he couldn’t imagine why the new president was displeased with him and praised himself for his long career of service. For years following his tenure in Mexico, he and his children wrote articles and letters to newspapers refuting the idea that he had anything to do with the coup that killed Madero, and turned Mexico over to a murderous thug.


  1. Ya think? U.S. spying on Mexico? | The Mex Files

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