01/31/12- According to Reforma, in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper praised efforts that the Mexican Government has taken against cartels, but criticized the delay of implementing legislative reforms at the federal and state levels.
Director Clapper appeared in front of the committee in order to present the “Annual Worldwide Threat Assessment,” in which the actions of President Felipe Calderón are explicitly applauded. The report states that, “During Calderón’s presidency, Mexican Federal Police and military operations have degraded several cartels, caused some to split into factions, and disrupted some of their criminal operations.” President Calderón’s administration is credited for having killed or captured five senior cartel leaders, as well as 23 of the 37 “most wanted” traffickers.
Director Clapper’s report acknowledges that 12,903 drug-related homicides were reported in October 2011, but also states that the majority of the deaths are believed to be the result of trafficker-on-trafficker violence. The assessment mentions that it is unlikely that the level of violence seen in Mexico might spill across the U.S. border because traffickers “are wary of more effective law enforcement in the United States”, and because of the inherent differences between U.S. and Mexican drug operations. The report praises Mexico’s committment to enacting reforms that strengthen the rule of law, but delineates that implementation is a slow process requiring legislative action at both the federal and state levels.
In addition to addressing Mexico, Clapper also highlighted global issues including threats posed by Iran, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, North Korea, cyber-terrorism, and water security.
Clapper, James R. “Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.” U.S. Intelligence Community. January 31, 2012.