Sunday, March 20, 2011

American Agents in Mexico

The AP has some info:
The U.S. agents generally provide intelligence and training, while Mexicans do the hands-on work. Neither side will say exactly how many agents are in Mexico, citing security concerns, but the Associated Press was able to identify several hundred using the Freedom of Information Act, federal budget requests, government audits, Congressional testimony and agency accountability reports.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has the largest U.S. presence in the drug war, with more than 60 agents in Mexico. Then there are 40 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, 20 Marshal Service deputies, 18 Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, and dozens more working for the FBI, Citizen and Immigration Service, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Coast Guard and Transportation Safety Agency.

The State Department's Narcotics Affairs Section staff alone jumped from 19 to 69 in the past three years, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The report is also getting some attention in Mexico. I'm not sure how it compares to other peacetime presences of American officials, but I can only imagine the number is pretty substantial, relatively speaking. At the same time, some undetermined fraction of a couple hundred seems like unlikely to have much impact as far as training Mexican troops.

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