The latest NSA leaks show that the domestic US intelligence agency spies on the Mexican government. This includes top officials, like former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose email was hacked by the NSA in 2010. At this stage, finding that the Mexican leadership is among the foreign governments targeted by the National Security Agency should not come as a shock.
However, the recent leaks provided by Edward Snowden suggest that spying on Mexico has actually given US investors an upper hand in business dealings, according to RT. The NSA produced 260 classified reports in a single year aiding political negotiations with Mexico. The reports also helped American businesses make foreign investment decisions.
The recent NSA leaks seem to be further chipping away at the NSA’s claim that they do not engage in economic espionage. Other NSA leaks earlier this year also point to this type of spying. This includes the revelation that the agency had spied on Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
These new NSA leaks detail a division of the agency known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, reports Latin Times. This branch focuses on carrying out extremely sensitive and difficult espionage missions. One of the missions carried out by TAO was a 2010 operation named “Flatliquid.” This involved NSA agents tapping into former Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s email account.
As RT points out, spying on Calderon is especially telling of the all-encompassing nature of the NSA’s intelligence gathering. Calderon was close with Washington, more than any Mexican president before him. In 2007, he even allowed construction of a secret electronic monitoring facility in Mexico.
Earlier documents released by Snowden showed that the NSA also has an interest in current Mexican President Pena Nieto. This actually began before Nieto even took office. Monitoring of Nieto began in 2012 as he campaigned for the presidency. One of the NSA’s TAO monitored Nieto’s phone calls, as well as calls made by nine of his close associates. NSA leaks show that this program alone lead to 85,489 text messages being intercepted.
One internal NSA document explains that the Tailored Access Operations involving the hacking of Mexican presidents’ emails “are just the beginning.” It also describes the TAO as a major success.
The latest leaked documents also detail a 2009 operation going by the name “Whitetamale.” This involved NSA agents hacking the communications of Mexico’s Public Security Secretariat, the nation’s anti-drug cartel and human trafficking agency. This access not only gave US intelligence details on Mexican crime fighting, but also granted the US “diplomatic talking-points,” according to the latest NSA leaks.
[Image via NSA / Wikimedia Commons]