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Mexico president criticizes US ‘spying’ after intelligence leak

Mexico’s president has said that his country would not tolerate spying by the United States on its security institutions, as an intelligence leak sparked new diplomatic tensions between the neighbours.

“Acts of spying cannot be used to find out what our security institutions are doing and, furthermore, with the arrogance of leaking the information to The Washington Post,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday at his daily news conference.

He was referring to a report in the newspaper over the weekend citing a leaked US classified document that noted the potential for worsening tensions between branches of Mexico’s armed forces.

According to the secret US military assessment, Mexico’s navy was frustrated with the likelihood of Lopez Obrador giving more responsibilities to the army, such as control of all national airspace, the newspaper said.

There was no indication that the intelligence — part of a major recent leak of US classified documents — was based on US wiretaps or intercepts of Mexican authorities, according to the Post.

READ MORE: Blinken: US intel leak has not affected cooperation with allies, partners

Fabricating drug trafficking crimes

Lopez Obrador, who later met with US Ambassador Ken Salazar, also insisted that Mexico would not accept US agents operating on its soil.

“There cannot be foreign agents in our country. No. We can share information, but it’s members of the Mexican Army, Navy and National Guard who can intervene,” he said.

The remarks came after the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said on Friday that it had infiltrated the infamous Sinaloa Cartel over the last year and a half, obtaining “unprecedented access to the organisation’s highest levels.”

The US Justice Department announced charges against four sons of imprisoned Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and their Chinese chemical suppliers in a crackdown on fentanyl trafficking networks.

Mexico reformed its national security law in 2021 to limit the operations of foreign agents.

The move came amid a row over the United States’ arrest of a former Mexican defence minister.

Lopez Obrador accused the DEA of fabricating drug trafficking crimes against Salvador Cienfuegos — a key figure in ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto’s 2012-2018 government — and the charges were later dropped.

READ MORE: Mexico nabs drug lord Ovidio ‘The Mouse’ ahead of Biden tour

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