Archive for Mexico
There is “unusual and compelling urgency” for the United States government to hire security companies to protect U.S. personnel working at our embassy in Mexico City. The State Dept. has put out a solicitation for bids from companies that can thwart terrorist and other violent attacks. The State Dept. currently uses a company called Inter-Con, but that contract expired on December 31, 2016. There’s a 3 month grace period where the company will continue to work, but now the bid is out for a new contract. According to federal documents, the basis for hiring a security team without a long bidding process is when there is “unusual and compelling urgency.” In addition to the embassy, the Feds are seeking bids to protect 9 consulates and 9 consular agencies in Mexico.
A 2012 incident in which Mexican federal police raked an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle with gunfire was the result of a “crass error” in judgment by the officers but was not an ambush ordered by organized crime, the nation’s top security czar said. In the Aug. 24, 2012, incident, federal police attacked a U.S. Embassy vehicle, riddling it with at least 152 rounds of assault weapons fire in what U.S. diplomats later termed an “ambush.” The attack occurred along a mountain road southwest of the capital. Speaking with foreign reporters, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said the jailing of 14 former federal police following the incident was proof that Mexico did not sweep the shooting under the rug. Rubido said the federal police in unmarked cars were patrolling an area near the hamlet of Tres Marias, where they had broken up a kidnapping ring a day earlier. “Suddenly they saw a vehicle with characteristics unusual for that region. They ordered it to stop. They were not in uniform because they were conducting an investigation,” Rubido said. “When the driver of the vehicle saw that armed people were ordering him to halt, he fled. But in a crass error, a crass error, the police began to shoot at the vehicle assuming that criminals were inside,” Rubido said. The gray Toyota SUV had visible front and rear diplomatic license plates, and the attack occurred in daylight. Inside were two U.S. officials, identified in U.S. and Mexican media reports as CIA employees, and a Mexican naval officer. All three men were injured in the attack. A separate unit of federal police arrived to defend the victims. The two Americans were hastily evacuated from Mexico. Rubido acknowledged that suspicions arose that the federal police unit was working for organized crime active in mountainous Morelos state, known for drug trafficking and kidnapping groups. “A deep investigation was conducted into why the police acted this way,” Rubido said, and “the overwhelming conclusion” was that the federal police were not linked to any organized crime group. Since the police used what Rubido termed as “excessive force,” the men are now in jail awaiting trial on that charge. None have yet been convicted, he said. “There are 14 police in prison, so you can see that there is no type of tolerance for this,” Rubido said. A U.S. Embassy spokesman offered no immediate response to Rubido’s remarks on the 2012 incident.
Edward Snowden’s leaks reveal that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on President Felipe Calderon, his cabinet, as well as president Enrique Nieto. In August of 2009 an operation with the politically incorrect code name Whitetamale hacked into Mexico’s Public Security Secretariat which is responsible for policing drug trafficking. Another operation with the code Eveningeasel collected Mexican phone calls and texts. As Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, put it: The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. Eveningeasel, Whitetamale and another program Flatliquid were conducted from the San Antonio Texas office of the NSA. However, other Snowden documents show internet traffic was captured and analyzed at a diplomatic post in Mexico city. The documents show that the US embassy in Mexico City also was a host to agents of the NSA/CIA Special Collection Service a black budget program whose goal is to bug foreign embassies as well as government facilities. Recently, a declassified memo shows that the NSA actually has a secret office in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. The facility is called a fusion center used to combine and then share intelligence with different agencies.
The Mexican ambassador to the U.S. reacted sharply Friday to reports that the National Security Agency eavesdropped on his government, saying that would be “absolutely outrageous and unacceptable.” Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora also answered questions about illegal immigration and economic policy during a meeting with editors and reporters from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Mundo Hispanico.
Mexico’s top diplomat said that President Obama has promised an investigation into spying the US reportedly did on Mexico’s presidential email system. Secretary of foreign affairs Jose Antonio Meade said Obama made the pledge during recent personal conversations by telephone and in person with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. “Mexico did not ask for an explanation. Mexico asked for an investigation,” Meade said when asked whether the US had apologized or offered any explanation about the reported National Security Agency spying. “He said and he gave his word that there was going to be an investigation around this issue,” Meade said of Obama. “He said that he had not authorized any spying on Mexico.” The reports of NSA snooping have kicked up a firestorm abroad. The Brazilian president canceled a state visit to Washington, the German government canceled a Cold War-era surveillance agreement and the French government summoned the US ambassador for answers. A report by the German news magazine Der Spiegel said documents from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden indicate the US gained access to former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s email system when he was in office. Earlier, a document dated June 2012 indicated the NSA had read current Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto’s emails before he was elected. Meade called such alleged spying “an abuse of trust.”
As the state’s Hispanic population continues to increase, Gov. Scott Walker is requesting Mexican officials open a consulate in the state. Walker sent two letters to Eduardo Medina Mora, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier this month, which were hand-delivered to both officials. The Hispanic population in Wisconsin is estimated at 6.2 percent of the total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Milwaukee County, the Hispanic population makes up 13.9 percent of the county. “Wisconsin is experiencing a growing Hispanic population and with that comes a demand for consular services,” Walker wrote in the letter to Mora. Currently, the consulate office in Chicago, which is one of the 50 Mexican consulate offices in the U.S., serves both residents of Indiana and Wisconsin, Walker said in the letter. Calls to Walker’s office were not returned.
Allegations that U.S. agents spied on Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto when he was a candidate during last year’s campaign have led Mexico to summon U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne and demanded “a thorough investigation.” Mexico’s foreign ministry says that “alleged espionage activity involving Mexican citizens” is against international law and the charter of the United Nations. The charges that the National Security Agency spied on Nieto were broadcast over the weekend in Brazil, where reports also claim that the U.S. spied on Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.