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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

U.S. intel faulted for de-emphasizing threats
from Latin America

A report by the House Intelligence Committee last week criticizes U.S. intelligence agencies for failing to devote adequate resources and attention to the threats from Mexico and Latin America.


Mexican naval officers stand guard after cutting open more than 20 shark carcasses filled with slabs of cocaine after checking a container ship in the southern Mexico state of Yucatan on June 16.    Reuters/Argely Salazar
“The Committee notes that Latin America has not received attention from the Intelligence Community commensurate with the region's importance to U.S. national security,” the fiscal 2010 authorization act, released June 26, states.

“As a result, intelligence agencies are hard-pressed to provide needed insights about the complex threats emanating from the Western Hemisphere, including a brutal narcotics trade and the proliferation of violent youth gangs that have moved into American cities beyond the Southwest border region.”

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The report calls for greater intelligence collaboration to gather intelligence on U.S. borders from state, local and tribal resources, including the use of Hispanic Americans.

Intelligence agencies need to boost ties to Latin America, especially the Mexican government, the report said.

“Mexico is confronting powerful drug cartels that have used billions of dollars from drug sales in the United States to bribe officials and arm themselves with American-purchased weaponry,” the report said. “This is a shared problem for which the United States and Mexico must both shoulder the responsibility of finding a solution.”

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