Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (Mexico)

MEXGOV has been working on the concept of an intelligence agency embedded within another intelligence agency. If world history tells us anything, it tells us that this breeds dysfunction. Thus it is with the chains of history heralding a warning, that Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, CNI, has been launched.
There is also a Centro Nacional de Inteligencia in Madrid that supports Spanish national interests. Please don't confuse the two.
President Peña Nieto's government has attempted to craft the new CNI after the USGOV's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), except there is almost no comparison in terms of how it's set up, it's mission or the personnel gathered to administer it.

The US Central Intelligence Agency was formed to collect information on nations outside of the United States and it's predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services was an action oriented service. Thus CIA inherited a directorate which has had several names: Clandestine Service, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Plans, etc. The Mexican version, CNI, won't have that sort of capability because it's linked to Justice-related intelligence collection on people and organizations of interest within Mexico. Based on an American model, it would be sort of an FBI/DEA fusion center (think of a centrally located HIDTA group and you're close).

Interior Minister (Secretaría de Gobernación) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong would disagree with me but I don't care. That's what it is and a rose by any other name is still a rose. 

The principle mission of the new National Intelligence Center (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia) will be to fight organized crime. The CIA doesn't do that to any significant degree. And what little of it they do, they do poorly because the bureaucracy is big, slow and CNC is poorly funded with many in its dedicated staff "double or triple hatted". That means that there aren't enough people to do it right.

CNI will act as a central collection point for information generated by all other intelligence and justice entities in the country, including the police, military, Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), and other federal and state agencies -- which is specifically what the CIA doesn't do. As Osorio Chong explained, it will "work towards the necessary bringing together of all information." CNI will be structured within the Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación, Segob), and will report to the existing Mexican Center for Investigation and National Security (Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, CISEN). Thus, an intelligence agency within an intelligence agency.

CNI's targets will be principally the very smallest of the narcotics trafficking groups: Los Cabelleros Templarios, Los Zetas, what's left of the Beltran Leyva Organization and the Gulf Cartel. They are not presently tasked with targeting the Sinaloa Federation, which incorporates Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and the Arellano Felix Organization -- and traffics about 80% of the narcotics across the US/Mexico and US/Canada borders. I won't be so indelicate as to ask why it's rolling that way. If you're a cynic, you may have already come to the same conclusion that I have.

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