What's the CIA Up to in Mexico?
The non-fatal shootings of two CIA agents in Mexico cast light on a US intelligence commitment said to rival that in Afghanistan.
Two CIA agents were wounded when Mexican police opened fire on a US embassy car outside Mexico City last week, it's been revealed. And Mexican politicians are holding a hearing today, demanding clarification of the shadowy role of US intelligence in the country's drug war. "The Mexican government must give a complete report on what the CIA is doing here, with whom it is working and what is the extent of its work," says Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, telling reporters that "everything is in the dark." Since President Felipe Calderon took office six years ago, his administration has worked closely with Washington to combat drug trafficking; at least 50,000 have meanwhile been killed during the war with the cartels. Calderon has expressed regret over the latest incident and promised an investigation. Analysts claim the presence of US agents in Mexico has surged, but Calderon has refused to disclose details; it's against Mexican law for foreign operatives to take arms in the country. The DEA has been linked to excessive violence in Latin America—and the involvement of the military, and now the CIA, is also suspected. "Of course many of these operations are taking place, and of course they are bypassing the legal framework in doing so," says Columbia University security expert Edgardo Buscaglia. "The expansion of the US presence within Mexican soil is unprecedented. We are reaching levels—not in terms of soldiers but in terms of American intelligence—that are close to Afghanistan."