Mexico’s new administration recently announced it would create a new national intelligence agency as part of a broader reform of the country’s security sector. In an email interview, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, explained the need for a new Mexican intelligence agency.
WPR: What has been the state of Mexico's intelligence apparatus in recent years?
Agnes Gereben Schaefer: In recent years, Mexico’s intelligence apparatus has been splintered across many agencies, including 1,661 local, state and federal police agencies; the military; the attorney general’s office; the Ministry of Interior; the former Ministry of Public Security; and the Center for Research and National Security (CISEN). While the CISEN has been the designated main intelligence agency in Mexico, these other agencies have maintained their own intelligence capabilities, and no single agency has been tasked with consolidating and analyzing all of the intelligence collected across the government. As a result, intelligence collection efforts have been fragmented, and interagency coordination has been a challenge. It was not uncommon for federal, state and local agencies to keep intelligence to themselves and fail to inform one another of operations.