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Wikileak Memo: Obama Refused DEA Permission to Assassinate Drug Kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera (Chapo)

Posted on

August 31, 2013
If one high-ranking employee with the global intelligence firm Stratfor is to be believed, not only did the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) once know the whereabouts of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – the Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin and fugitive from justice in Mexico – but the agency even asked the White House to go into Mexico to kill him.

 
 
 
Among the 5 million “Stratfor memos” published by WikiLeaks in 2012 are several messages from Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence and top expert on Mexican drug cartels for Stratfor, describing classified interactions from 2007 to 2011 between Mexican and US intelligence and even President Barack Obama’s response to the 2010 DEA query. Guzmán, one of the most powerful of Mexico’s cartel capos, was sentenced to over 20 years in prison in 1993 on drug trafficking charges but escaped by bribing a prison guard. He remains a fugitive from justice.

The first of the messages from Burton came on November 2, 2007. “If the DEA can specifically locate the Sinaloa boss El Chapo, he will be assassinated,” Burton wrote. “A decision memo has been authorized to take him out, as a national security threat.” WhoWhatWhy, an investigative journalism website, writes that the “decision memo” could refer to a decision within the DEA pending approval from the National Security Council, or a memo indicating the Bush administration – still in office at that time – could have approved the plan.

Whatever the case was, a DEA operation was never carried out. But Burton later says, in a February 2010 email, that the DEA “had a window of opportunity to render El Chapo” but the White House “would not let them do it”, quipping, “God forbid we upset our lovely MX neighbors”. In a July 2010 email, he expounds a bit on what happened, writing, “DEA Special Ops submitted a finding to go into MX to whack El Chapo. Obviously, the decision came back as no. Never made it past the deputies committee.”

The intelligence VP ends the email striking a pose of nonchalance toward the Obama administration’s apparent rejection of the DEA request in that message. “As Gomer Pyle would say, ‘Surprise, surprise'” he writes. That attitude might be explained by the last of the memos on El Chapo, coming in April 2011, when Burton says, “Obama won’t approve a finding for covert action inside MX based on ‘moral ground'”, adding that then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón “has told a few that violence has reached a point that he would turn a blind eye to unilateral CIA or DEA actions, if they wanted to go down that path, as long as he has ‘plausible deniability.'”

Close cooperation between US and Mexican intelligence agencies has been a politically sensitive one in Mexico. Under the Calderón administration, the agencies were known to have collaborated to an unprecedented degree -though perhaps not to the extent that the Stratfor memos suggest. But the administration of current president Enrique Peña Nieto, who came into office in December 2012, has tried to wedge out old space. And the opposition on the Mexican left denounces such collaboration as an incursion on Mexican sovereignty, a claim which Obama dismissed in a May trip to Mexico as “a distortion”.

Burton also details ways in which the DEA might have gone about killing the Mexican drug lord. “One of the scenarios discussed to kill El Chapo or other Zeta HVT’s [high-value targets] was a 1000 yard head shot by a U.S. shooter, to plant the seed of paranoia in the minds of the narcos as to who pulled the trigger.

“CIA ‘Ground Branch’ assets and/or DEA SO [Special Operations] have stated they have the ability and intelligence to pull it off without getting caught.”

 
WIKILEAKS:
 
 
 
Re: INSIGHT -Mexico/Guatemala – cartel activity
 
Released on 2013-02-13 00:00 GMT
 
Email-ID
1135481
Date
2010-02-24 15:27:59
From
burton@stratfor.com
To
reva.bhalla@stratfor.com, secure@stratfor.com
 
Very good report.

DEA also believes El Chapo is in the same area, so that could be
“circular information”.

DEA had a window of opportunity to render El Chapo but the WH would not
let them do it. God forbid we upset our lovely MX neighbors.

I’ve never seen the wife of the Guat Prez alleged links to the Zetas. I
can verify that if desired?

Reva Bhalla wrote:

 PUBLICATION: Background/analysis
ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR source
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: MX defense/intel source

 SOURCE RELIABILITY: B
ITEM CREDIBILITY: 3
SUGGESTED DISTRIBUTION: secure
SOURCE HANDLER: Reva
 
We believe el Chapo is currently hiding out in Petén, Guatemala near the Mexican border. Starting in about 2006, los Zetas and Sinaloa smashed the existing Guatemalan cartels in the north and took over. From 2004-2006 the Guatemalan military was reduced from 25,000-15,000. This was part of the peace accords. A lot of these guys who lost their positions in the military went into police, a lot went into organized crime and a lot went to Mexico. From there you could see the influx of the cartels. 

I can tell you that the Mexican army has presented very detailed plans to Calderon on plans for a major offensive against the cartels, identifying exactly which nodes they have to hit, artillery positions, etc. it was all mapped out. Calderon is strongly against it though. He doesn’t want to give the army that power, doesn’t want to deal with the backlash, and the biggest question is, who then controls the trade if you take out these guys? the demand for drugs doesn’t just go away.

The cartels, particularly los Zetas, are operating with the help of Sandra Torres de Colom – wife of Guatemalan pres who really calls the shots. There’s a lot of suspicion that she is a former guerrilla (URNG) and has installed her relatives and other guerrillas in the government and intelligence apparatus. She doesn’t have support of the military, who as you say is taking the side of the landowners who oppose her. She would like to become president but there is a clause in the constitution that prohibits any ‘relative’ of the president from running. She could work around this by a) changing the constitution b) claiming she’s not a blood relative so therefore she is eligible or c) maybe even divorce the guy.

The Mexican army is attempting to gain better control over its air space through radars and other systems to interdict the flow of drugs via air. While it’s easier for the cartels to simply take the product straight to the US, it’s risky. So, it’s easier for them to buy one way tickets up the supply chain, from Colombia to Venezuela to Guatemala and then from there take it over by land into MX and across the border it goes into the US. MX wants Guatemala to also improve its control over its airspace  to help patch up coverage over this border but Colom continues delaying any deals to obtain these systems. (went over the specs of what Guatemala has, essentially not enough). Of course there is a lot of corruption involved but in one of these deals the Brazilians were providing them credit and everything to make it go through. Still nothing happens. (he is implying that Colom doesn’t want to enhance security along the border)

 
 
 

 

Source:Latin Times
 
 
 
 
 
 

About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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