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Cablegate: Mexico: More Interagency Cooperation Needed On

DE RUEHME #3195/01 3140013
R 100013Z NOV 09

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 MEXICO 003195



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. (S/NF) Summary. President Calderon's security strategy
lacks an effective intelligence apparatus to produce high
quality information and targeted operations. Embassy
officers working with the GOM report that Mexico's use of
strategic and tactical intelligence is fractured, ad hoc, and
reliant on U.S. support. Despite their myriad inefficiencies
and deficiencies, Mexican security services broadly recognize
the need for improvement. Sustained U.S. assistance can help
shape and fortify the technical capacity of institutions and
can also create a more reliable, collegial inter-agency
environment. End Summary.

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GOM Intel Strategy Criticized

2. (C) Recent criticism of President Calderon's security
strategy cites a poorly utilized and underdeveloped
intelligence apparatus as a key obstacle to greater
improvements in the country's security environment.
Calderon's political opponents from both the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Revolutionary Democratic
Party (PRD) have told Poloff that large-scale joint
military-police counterdrug deployments, notably Joint
Operation Chihuahua, have failed to make real gains in the
war against organized crime due to a reliance on overwhelming
numerical superiority of troops absent the strategic and
operational use of intelligence. Critics argue that the more
effective use of intelligence would help the security
services better cooperate on counterdrug issues, wrap-up more
high-level traffickers, and, eventually, curb the country's
escalating rates of narco-related violence. Emboffs working
with the GOM in counter-narcotics and intelligence matters
similarly note that Mexico's use of strategic and tactical
intelligence is often fractured, ad hoc, and heavily reliant
on the United States for leads and operations.

The Players

3. (S/NF) A myriad of GOM agencies have a stake in
counternarcotics intel issues, including the Secretariats of
Defense (SEDENA) and Marines (SEMAR), the Mexican National
Intelligence Center (CISEN), the Public Security Secretariat
(SSP), which includes the federal police, and the Attorney
General's Office (PGR). Each has a different intelligence
mission and varying levels of development and
professionalism. As Mexico's primary intelligence agency,
CISEN is the natural choice to be the GOM's coordinator of
intelligence and analytic efforts. Indeed, it technically
has the lead on encouraging interagency coordination and is
developing mechanisms to facilitate such endeavors. For the
most part, however, CISEN lacks the capacity to effectively
direct the inter-agency process, particularly when it
includes such institutional giants as SSP, which
bureaucratically overshadows CISEN in budget, personnel, and
other resource issues. CISEN's inability thus far to serve
as a real leader on intelligence operations and analysis has
effectively left Mexico without an effective interagency

4. (S/NF) SSP is increasingly becoming a major player on the
intel block. It is exploring ways to take advantage of new
authorities granted under the Federal Police reform
legislation passed last year to develop its intelligence
capabilities. SSP can now directly solicit telephonic
information from phone companies with a judicial order,
bypassing the PGR entirely. It is also interested in
building its own complete telecommunications intercept
capability, the implementation of which has stalled over the
past two years because of turf disputes between SSP and the
Attorney General's Office. Moreover, as the keeper of
Plataforma Mexico -- the massive new criminal database -- the
SSP oversees one of the GOM's cornerstone and resource-heavy
information-sharing projects.

MEXICO 00003195 002 OF 005

The Challenges

5. (S/NF) The GOM faces a number of institutional challenges
to more effectively develop, analyze, and use information for
intelligence-based operations. One of the most critical of
these is the lack of trust between and within GOM
institutions. Emboffs report that SEDENA, for example, has
well-established intel units that develop targeting packages
on cartel kingpins. In general, they do not share
information or analysis with forces on the ground deployed to
fight counternarcotics, like in Ciudad Juarez. These units
will share threat information against military components,
but also see local military commands as often penetrated by
organized crime. Locally deployed SEDENA forces rarely
develop or utilize tactical intelligence. In fact, they have
no true intel units that collect information, nor do they
have professional intel corps. Military units deployed to
hotspots operate virtually blind except for anonymous tips.
Particularly given the fallout from the high-level corruption
cases uncovered last year, PGR and SSP suffer from similar
internal suspicions as SEDENA.

6. (S/NF) Institutions are fiercely protective of their own
information and equities and are reluctant to share
information with outsiders, in part because of corruption
fears, but also because they would rather hoard intelligence
than allow a rival agency to succeed. They are under
enormous pressure to produce results. Moreover, bureaucratic
culture in Mexico is generally risk averse, so intelligence
entities would rather do nothing than do something wrong.
Corruption fears are well-founded given the number of
operations that have been compromised or foiled because of
leaks. Emboffs note that constructing an effective
intelligence structure in Mexico's northern border area is
particularly difficult, as many of the region's security
forces are compromised. The rivalry between Attorney General
Medina Mora -- recently replaced by Arturo Chavez Chavez --
and SSP,s Genaro Garcia Luna dramatically diminished
cooperation and information-sharing between the two services.
Leadership and personality conflicts may, in fact, be one of
the most significant drivers of whether or not agencies set
themselves up as rivals or allies in sharing important
information. Some observers see the new federal police and
PGR reforms as unlikely to resolve the zero sum competition,
and it is too early to know whether the Chavez appointment
will mitigate the specific PGR-SSP problem.

7. (S/NF) There are also some legal and institutional
unknowns: SSP, which receives the bulk of the GOM's security
budget, now has the legal backing it needs to allow Garcia
Luna to move ahead in building a large new intelligence and
investigative program. With such indigenous capabilities,
SSP probably would have even less incentive to cooperate with
PGR. SEDENA, meanwhile, tends to work better with PGR than
with SSP, but the Army's efforts are still highly limited and
compartmentalized and it remains to be seen how better
vetting practices and a stronger SSP will impact those
relations. Secretary of Defense Galvan Galvan in a recent
meeting with U.S. officials expressed little interest in
bolstering cooperation with other agencies. Because of
internal strife and mistrust in GOM institutions, Mission law
enforcement agencies say that USG elements tend to work with
GOM counterparts separately, which may end up indirectly
contributing to stovepiping.

Taking Steps to Get Smart

8. (S/NF) There is broad recognition among Mexican security
and intelligence agencies, as well as political leadership,
that they must do better in developing sources, analyzing
information, and using it operationally. They also know that
the effective use of intelligence requires more complete
collaboration between involved bureaucracies. Despite its
deficiencies, the GOM does have some intelligence
capabilities, and Emboffs note that when they are deployed in
full force, as in Michoacan, they can do good work.

MEXICO 00003195 003 OF 005

9. (S/NF) The GOM is working hard to improve communication
among agencies with a stake in intelligence. CISEN is trying
to develop mechanisms to facilitate coordination. For
example, CISEN has established at its Mexico City
headquarters a fusion center that has representatives from
every involved agency, including the Finance Secretariat,
SSP, PGR, SEMAR, SEDENA, and state and local investigators
when they can be trusted. Mexico is also in the process of
establishing a series of Tactical Operations Intelligence
Units (UNITOS) at military bases in each state throughout the
country. The GOM has established a number of units (reports
range from 9 to 27) with participation from the Army, Navy,
SSP, PGR, and CISEN, comprising a command section, tactical
analysis group, investigations group, operations sector, and
a cadre of judicial experts. When properly functioning, the
UNITOs provides a centralizing platform for federal forces to
work together, share information, and plan operations. It is
still unclear as to whether these would be short or long term
units, but if implemented correctly, they might serve as a
key piece of a revamped GOM intel and operational
architecture. So far, the UNITOs are plagued by the same
interagency rivals and mistrust that characterize the broader
institutional relationships and have not yet reached the
point of being effective.

10. (C) The state-level C-4 centers (command, control,
communications, and coordination) are, at the low end,
glorified emergency call centers. At the high end, they
include more professional analytic cells that produce useful
analysis and planning documents and also have a quick
response time. The more complete C-4s include
representatives from national and regional entities, and are
the nerve centers for day-to-day information flow,
intelligence, and directing operations in the state. They
are often also the link to national databases, such as
Plataforma Mexico. Huge disparities between state C-4s
exist, but many states are working to move their units from
merely housing emergency dispatchers to being functional hubs
of operations and intelligence. The UNITOs often rely on
information fed from good C-4s, in addition to federal
databases and platforms.

11. (C) Plataforma Mexico is another important piece of the
intel puzzle and continues to expand its presence throughout
the country. The mega-criminal database has a wide array of
information-sharing and analytical tools that
help to track and share information on individuals and
organized crime cells, vehicles, air movements, and is linked
with an increasing number of surveillance and security
cameras. The database is housed at SSP and is being deployed
to an increasing number of states, with different tiers of
access that are controlled through the vetting system. Not
all states have access, mostly because they have yet to
comply with federal standards in order to be connected, and
some states with access have complained that the system is
too slow to be of any use to them. Additionally, Project
Constanza is PGR's new case tracking system for the judicial
system, and will include all data related to individual cases
of persons apprehended and later charged. Some pieces may be
made available to Plataforma Mexico, and PGR would like to
have a system for tracking detentions that can be made
available to police units when apprehending a suspect. The
Mission is actively engaged in trying to plug E-Trace, ATF's
powerful arms tracing software, into both systems.

12. (S/NF) Despite myriad challengece, cooperation with the
USG on intelligence and counternarcotics issues has never
been better. Indeed, Embassy experts say that Mexican
authorities often rely on tips from U.S. law enforcement and
intelligence organizations, and that many successful captures
of important cartel figures are often backed by U.S.
assistance. Mexico has indicated interest in improving its
collection and use of intelligence with additional U.S. help.
For example, in early 2009 the director of the National
Security Information Center came to Mexico to, among other
things, meet with CISEN Director Valdez (NSIC runs the Merida
Culture of Lawfulness project but also works in the field of

MEXICO 00003195 004 OF 005

intelligence structures in democratic societies). He pitched
to Valdez a program developed by NSIC to divide a hostile
zone into a series of quadrants and assign a team to each
that contains four specialties - interviewers (Humint),
signals interceptors (Sigint), analysts, and operators - as
well as an adequate security contingent to keep the members
secure in their safe area and during movement. The teams
take up residence in the area, as clandestinely as possible,
and begin to develop sources and information that is used to
make arrests. At
the same time, the team filters raw and semi-processed
information to the next level, which has a parallel
structure, but more robust operations capabilities and higher
level skill sets, especially for analyzing the information.
The ideas is to develop strategic, as opposed to tactical,
information that can be used to take apart whole networks.
Valdez was impressed by the concept, and directed his deputy,
Gustavo Mohar, to meet with the Embassy's NAS Director to
discuss its viability in U.S. programming. NAS Director and
Legatt met with Mohar and suggested that in the training line
of Merida it would be possible to pursue such a program.


13. (S/NF) Mexico is a long way from developing a
self-sufficient and expert intelligence apparatus, but the
creation of a coherent system is critical for the sustained
success of its anti-organized crime efforts. USG-GOM
cooperation, while not flawless, has never been better.
Close collaboration and assistance in training and improving
Mexican security agencies' ability to produce and use
intelligence in key counterdrug operations undoubtedly is
critical and will pay dividends over time. Perhaps the
greatest challenge to lasting progress on intelligence
matters is cultivating an environment of trust -- based on
high standards of security -- among Mexico's law enforcement,
military, and intelligence agencies to ensure that
information is appropriately collected, shared, protected,
and acted upon. Reducing institutional rivalries and
encouraging agencies to move past the zero-sum mindset that
one entity's success in catching a high-value target is
another's loss is also critical to reducing rivalries and
distrust on intelligence issues. The growing SSP footprint
on intelligence matters has the potential to seriously impact
the information-sharing dynamic, a factor that will have to
be integrated into our assistance programs to ensure that we
do not exacerbate existing institutional tensions,
particularly with the PGR. While our Mexican interlocutors
recognize the need for greater interagency cooperation, they
are reluctant to address the problem: the solution will
require sustained U.S. help in fortifying institutions
against the corruption, inefficiencies and backbiting that
have bred distrust amongst GOM partners.

14. (S/NF) The USG can help Mexico develop inter-agency
capabilities, and there are a number of line items in the
Merida Initiative that can be employed in this effort. For
example: the polygraph program properly pushed out to the
states and consistently applied to special units could help
produce the core integrity and trust that all good
intelligence will depend on; the state-level law enforcement
C-4 coordination centers, when done right, can bring all
agencies and information together; Plataforma Mexico, the
core database for law enforcement information-sharing, is
rolling out across Mexico with new resources in 2009 that
will enhance its capabilities and accessibility; through law
enforcement professionalization, we are training
investigators who will be a key piece of the intelligence
puzzle as they serve as front-line collectors; we will be
supporting vetted units -- among the highest yielding
entities in the GOM for intelligence -- with USD 5 million of
FY2009 funding. Perhaps most importantly, these programs can
serve as effective carrots to resolve the entrenched mistrust
and parochialism of Mexican institutions by ensuring that
organizations come to the table together when necessary to
support the GOM's efforts to combat rife corruption within
its institutions.

MEXICO 00003195 005 OF 005

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 /

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