Monday, October 21, 2013

Ex-Mexican President Protests NSA "Spying" on Him

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón issued an “energetic protest” with his country’s government regarding alleged espionage against him by the National Security Agency (NSA).

“I spoke with the Secretary of Foreign Relations and asked that he send an energetic protest against the spying against me,” tweeted Calderón on Monday.

Calderón further criticized the “attacks against Mexico’s public institutions” after German magazine Der Spiegel claimed the NSA reportedly hacked his public email account while he was president.

“I’ll be attentive to the actions by the Foreign Relations office in seeking explanations from the U.S.,” tweeted the man who was Mexico’s president between 2006 and 2012, and who is now a fellow at Harvard University.

“This practice is unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law,” said Mexico’s foreign affairs office in a statement issued yesterday over the “possible spying”. “In a relationship between neighbors there is no room for these practices to occur,” the communiqué mentioned without specifically naming Der Spiegel’s report.

According a 2010 NSA classified report cited by Der Spiegel, U.S. intelligence was able to tap into an “email domain” used by then-President Calderón as well as members of his cabinet.  As a result, the agency had access to “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico's political system and internal stability”.  For the NSA, Calderon’s office thus became “a lucrative source.”

The NSA report was the latest document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and comes weeks after he helped reveal the agency’s supposed surveillance of Enrique Peña Nieto during his successful presidential campaign last year. In response to last month’s report, Mexico’s government summoned the U.S. ambassador in Mexico City, Anthony Wayne, for consultations.

Members of the Mexican Senate’s foreign relations committee, meanwhile, want to discuss the spying allegations with Wayne and Mexican envoy to the U.S., Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza.

“I believe that the best reaction (to the report) is to seek a meaningful solution since we don’t want to blow up our ties with the U.S.,” said the committee’s head, Gabriela Cuevas Barrón.  “But the reality is that a relationship with a good partner shouldn’t be abused through spying,” she added.

“It’s a shame that the U.S. has a 3000-kilometer scar across its stomach called ‘Mexico’ and that part of its domestic security depends on what our country does,” said Jorge Luis Preciado, the coordinator for senators representing the ruling PAN political group.  “Therefore, we believe the U.S. should place a greater value on what we do,” he added in a news conference today.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf expressed her hope that relations between the U.S. and other countries (such as France) will not be negatively affected by the alleged NSA surveillance.

“We take their concerns seriously…(and) we think these are important issues to talk about, and that we don’t want these alleged reports out there in the press to negatively influence our bilateral relationship,” Harf mentioned at Monday’s Daily Press Briefing.

In the last few months, Snowden has helped reveal numerous instances of U.S. surveillance on Latin America, especially Brazil.

Video Source– YouTube via Newsy

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist; U.S. State Department, BBC News;; Azteca Noticias; Twitter account of Felipe Calderón; Mexican foreign affairs office; Der Spiegel

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