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Mexican military hack shows cartel involvement exposed with some defense officials

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MEXICO CITY – More than 4 million documents leaked from the Mexican Ministry of Defense [SEDENA] continues to uncover new allegations, including collusion between top military officials and drug cartels. Known as the ‘Guacamaya Leaks’, classified Mexican government documents show how military officials sold technical equipment, weapons and key information about rival gangs to cartels.

“After the revelation of the hack, SEDENA’s intelligence capabilities, including the National Guard, were seriously compromised,” warned Mexican national security expert Alejandro Hope. “

Hope told Fox News Digital: “First, their information-gathering methods may have been exposed, which essentially trashed several million dollars’ worth of technology investment. Likewise, the relationship with any whistleblower that military intelligence has, even if it’s those names. severely damaged. not among the stolen information [the informants do not know it.] Similarly, information exchange with foreign institutions will be difficult due to well-founded fears that SEDENA’s systems are not secure.”

The leaks are particularly significant at a time when the government is accused of militarizing public safety by giving the military extraordinary powers, despite the condemnation and anger of citizens and dozens of nonprofits. Observers fear that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who promised to bring peace and take the army to the barracks, will give them the highest budget and unlimited power no president has ever given them.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in the middle, waving to the crowd next to Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, left, and Secretary of the Navy José Rafael Ojeda Durán during the annual military parade held as part of the celebrations for the last independence day a month in Mexico City.

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“This is a fundamental reason not to give SEDENA more powers, powers and budgets: it is an institution that refuses to submit to democratic controls,” Hope warned.

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Luis Rubio, President of México Evalúa, a Mexico City-based think tank, told Fox News Digital that the leakers were “generally underdeveloped, very simplistic in their approach, little knowledge of the world they live in, and less knowledgeable.” army,” he said. Military officials are very concerned and sensitive to any outside criticism. In particular, they maintain the very “sovereign” vision of the Americans that there is a danger, a threat to Mexico’s natural resources, especially oil.”

President López Obrador minimized the scandal and said at the time: “There is nothing that is unknown.” He said the attack apparently occurred during a change in Department of Defense systems. His goal, according to his critics, is to keep his ties to criminal groups intact, who can guarantee him the resources and support to pursue his political ambitions until the 2024 presidential election. Some observers say that for him the military plays a fundamental role in their electoral and political agenda, which is why he is willing to protect them and cover up any scandal at all costs.

Three lessons I’ve learned from the Guacamaya leaks are: the military’s inability to understand and engage with society in general, their dissatisfaction with the responsibilities they’ve been given, but their self-discipline as a responsive body to their bosses. “Perhaps most importantly, their loyalty is to the President, not to the State or the Constitution,” said Rubio, president of México Evalúa.

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Experts fear this complicity will continue to undermine security and further weaken the rule of law. As leaks reveal, there are links between former SEDENA pilots and drug traffickers, and at least 70 criminal groups are responsible for violence and crime in Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. The government is deploying seven times more soldiers to detain immigrants than to fight Huachicol or steal fuel.

In a September 2020 report titled “Consequences of Air Intelligence,” SEDENA noted that “organized crime exploits airport infrastructure and national airspace, exploiting a jurisdictional gap due to the incompetence of some agencies, legal framework and inefficient administrative processes”.

Observers expect several key findings to emerge in the coming weeks as the leaks continue to reveal how the government spies on citizens, journalists, activists and politicians. Mexican digital rights organization R3D, or Red en los Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, detected Pegasus infections against journalists and a human rights defender between 2019 and 2021. The lawsuits came after the Mexican president assured the public that the government was no longer using it. There will be no spyware and other exploits.

Leaks also reveal that SEDENA has prepared confidential reports on state governors, mayors, local and federal legislators and prosecutors, in addition to lists containing data from different candidates who ran in the last election.

hacker attacking internet

hacker attacking internet

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There are also reports of corruption and weaknesses in customs and how this facilitates the smuggling of drugs and products from the country’s entry and exit points. Politicians have personally sought the armed forces to connect contractors and service companies on many of the major infrastructure projects they control. Among them are the Felipe Ángeles International Airport and the Maya Train.

The former director of the Center for Investigation and National Security recently wrote in a Mexican publication that the leaks were damaging the Mexican state, as the government failed to maintain the security infrastructure required by certain strategic areas.

“The combination of these two evils, the absence of a national security policy and scarcity of resources for the basic functioning of security institutions are behind the ineffective cybersecurity strategy of the United States. A senior official from the national security cabinet,” Guillermo Valdés wrote in an article for the Mexican magazine Letras Libres. He resigned a few months ago, fed up with the complete futility of his three-year efforts to push the government’s cybersecurity strategy.”

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Unlike the Mexican president, Hope said the leaks were very damaging and worrying.

“Nowadays, we learned of the existence of arms smuggling networks fueled by military camps, corruption and money laundering in SEDENA’s employment and service contract, overt illegal telephone interceptions carried out without judicial review. Also, in many cases military personnel knew and did not act, they were aware of possible murders, and “They discovered that they did little or nothing to prevent them, collecting intelligence about possible links between political actors and organized crime gangs, and nothing was gained from that information,” he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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