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Cablegate: Draft Country Terrorism Report for 2007

VZCZCXRO5183
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R 042201Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0049
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
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RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
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136383,1/4/2008 22:01,08MEXICO23,"Embassy Mexico",UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY,08STATE145633,"VZCZCXRO5183
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DE RUEHME #0023/01 0042201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 042201Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0049
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC","UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 000023

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/CT (Secretary/Counter terrorism)- RHONDA SHORE AND WHA/MEX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC PGOV MX
SUBJECT: DRAFT COUNTRY TERRORISM REPORT FOR 2007

REF: STATE 145633

Mexico is a key ally of the United States in combating
terrorism, and its commitment to work with us to preempt
terrorist activity or entry through our shared border is
strong. There are no known international terrorists residing
or operating in the country. No terrorist incidents
targeting U.S. interests/personnel have occurred on or
originated from Mexican territory. Although the July and
September attacks on oil and gas pipelines by a guerrilla
group called the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) have raised
the specter of domestic terrorism, Mexico primarily
represents a terrorist transit threat and our bilateral
efforts focus squarely on minimizing that threat.

Since entering office last December, President Calderon's
Administration has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment
to improve national security. Moreover, the GOM (Government of Mexico) is also resolved to greatly strengthen law enforcement and counter
terrorism cooperation with the USG (US Government) in coming years. USG law
enforcement agencies enjoy much improved relationships with
Mexican security institutions across the board. Mexico worked
with the USG in 2007 to enhance aviation, border, maritime,
and transportation security, secure critical infrastructure,
and combat terrorism financing.

In 2007, the GOM continued to make steady progress in the
area of counter terrorism with an emphasis on border security
projects focused on special interest aliens (SIAs) and alien
smuggling. The GOM worked to professionalize federal law
enforcement institutions, restructuring and strengthening the
institutions directly responsible for fighting organized
crime, and developing tools under the framework of the
Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to better address
national security threats.

Information-sharing on counter terrorism issues in the first
year of the Calderon administration was strong. The March
2005 launch of the SPP, which consists of ten
security-related goals within its Security Pillar,
institutionalized mechanisms for information exchange between
the U.S. and Mexico. The USG will continue working with
Mexico to improve existing information sharing initiatives.
In particular, USG will continue to support digitalization of
the GOM information-gathering procedures in order to build a
database of usable biometric information and strengthen our
ability to accurately analyze the information provided by
GOM.

The continued exploitation of smuggling channels traversing
the U.S. Mexico border, and lack of enforcement along
Mexico's border with Guatemala remain continuing strategic
concerns. The GOM takes the terrorist transit and SIA (Special Interest Aliens) smuggling possibility seriously and has been responsive to
U.S. reports concerning SIA smuggling. Mexico passed a law
against human-trafficking which will aid in pursuing criminal
proceedings against traffickers and smugglers operating in
Mexico. In a recent case, Mexican authorities provided
substantial support to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement in arresting a third country national wanted in
the U.S. for SIA smuggling.

One setback was a change in detention procedures for SIAs.
In 2005 and 2006, Mexico's Immigration Service (INM)
maintained a policy of housing all detained aliens of Special
Interest Countries at their detention facility near Mexico
City. However, in March 2007, INM began releasing such
detainees from their point of arrest, thus hindering
information-sharing and the USG's ability to track the
movement of SIAs.

Nevertheless, cooperation between the USG and GOM has been
strong overall, especially in investigating individuals
suspected of cooperation with SIA smugglers or terrorist
organizations. The two countries exchange information and
closely cooperate in targeting alien smugglers, particularly
along Mexico's northern border. A particularly effective
mechanism is the Operation Against Smugglers Initiative on
Safety and Security (OASISS), which allows Mexican and U.S.
law enforcement officials to systematically share real-time

MEXICO 00000023 002 OF 003


information regarding ongoing alien smuggling investigations.
OASISS enhances the ability of both governments to prosecute
alien smugglers and human traffickers, who otherwise might
elude justice. OASISS is currently operational in the U.S.
in all four states along the southwest border and in most of
Mexico's northern border states. The program provides a model
for bilateral information-sharing in a variety of law
enforcement and security areas. An essential next step will
be to expand OASISS to all Mexico's northern border states.
At the same time, the USG needs to continue to support the
GOM's efforts to expand operations targeting SIA smuggling
organizations along Mexico's southern border.

The U.S.-Mexico Border Security and Public Safety Working
Group formed in March 2006 has become another important tool
for bilateral cooperation, establishing protocols between
both governments to respond cooperatively at a local level to
critical incidents and emergencies along the border. The
success of the pilot sites led to the expansion and
formalization of the program. These protocols are now in
place along the entire US/Mexico border.

The USG was able to further develop its border security
relationship with the GOM under President Calderon through
training programs, which focused on using non-intrusive
inspection equipment, detecting weapons of mass destruction,
and identifying fraudulent documents.

The GOM coordinated with the USG on information sharing of
air passenger data and the use of its Integrated System for
Migratory Operations (SIOM). The USG is also planning to
support the establishment by the INM of a national center for
migratory alerts. This center will correlate information
drawn from various other agencies to alert immigration
officials of possible suspect entries into Mexico. In
addition, the USG and GOM agreed to share on an ad hoc basis
biometric data for inclusion in the Integrated Automated
Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). In order to
accomplish this goal, USG needs to continue to support GOM's
effort to improve their biometric collection procedures in
line with USG standards and practices.

In mid-2006, the GOM and USG began negotiations on programs
designed to deter terrorists from using the Mexico's seaports
to ship illicit materials, detect nuclear or radioactive
materials if shipped via sea cargo, and interdict harmful
material before it could be used against the U.S. or one of
our allies. The cooperative effort will include installation
of specialized equipment to screen cargo containers for
nuclear or other radioactive materials. If anything were
detected, the equipment would alert Mexican port officials of
the need to further examine the cargo and take appropriate
action.

In the area of money laundering, the USG developed strong
working relationships with the Financial Intelligence Unit of
the Attorney General's Office (PGR) and its companion unit in
the Mexican Treasury (Hacienda) in combating money
laundering, terrorist financing, and narcotics trafficking.
In one case in late 2007, Mexican police worked with U.S.
authorities to identify and arrest the alleged finance head
for the Sinaloa drug cartel, targeting a ring that bought
airplanes with laundered money to smuggle drugs. The GOM
also deployed to Mexico City's international airport a task
force that included elements from the Federal Investigative
Agency (AFI), Mexican Customs, and prosecuting attorneys from
the Attorney General's anti-money laundering criminal
prosecution section.

On June 28, 2007 President Calderon signed into law
legislation outlawing terrorist financing and associated
money laundering. The new law establishes international
terrorism and terror financing as serious criminal offenses,
as called for in UN resolution 1373, and provides for up to
40 year prison sentences. The measure also incorporates
several non-finance related provisions including jail
sentences for individuals who cover up the identities of
terrorists and for those who recruit people to commit
terrorist acts. While it lacked some important provisions,
such as assets forfeiture measures, the law is a significant

MEXICO 00000023 003 OF 003


step forward in suppressing those who plan, facilitate,
finance or commit terrorist acts. Mexico's legislature is
currently working on legal reform legislation which, if
enacted, will offer law enforcement officials broader
authorities (including assets forfeiture) to investigate and
prosecute serious criminal cases, including terrorist
activity. Despite the recent legislation and excellent
USG-GOM cooperation, money laundering remains a significant
problem in Mexico, and the USG would like to see more Mexican
resources dedicated to tackling the problem.

The Mexican Navy and Army continued to expand their counter
terrorism capabilities in 2007. The Mexican Navy improved
control over ports of entry by deploying a newly constituted
infantry force. The Navy is also looking to expand its still
incomplete control over Mexico's vast maritime zone by better
integrating radar, patrol craft, sea going vessels, air
platforms, and land based platforms. If undertaken, these
enhancements to Mexico's maritime air surveillance will allow
the Navy to better protect key national strategic facilities,
including those related to oil production in the Bay of
Campeche. In 2007 the GOM deployed significant military
forces to combat a growing wave of drug related violence.
The experience gained in these operations could be applied to
future counterterrorism efforts, especially in regards to
intelligence and logistics operations. It remains difficult
to assess the Mexican Army's counterterrorism capabilities
due to the institution's closed nature. While there have been
improvements in U.S.- Mexico military to military cooperation
in the past year, the USG and the GOM armed forces have
limited interoperability in the area of counter terrorism.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
Leslie BASSETT

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