Below is an excerpt from the Daily Press Brief on March 15 with Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley:
MR. CROWLEY: But finally, obviously, we are – we will, as the Secretary and the President pledged, work tirelessly with Mexican authorities to bring the killers of American citizens Lesley Enriquez, who was an employee of our U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, and her husband Arthur Redelfs – the killers to justice. We are – offer our deepest condolences to the families as well as to the spouse of a U.S. Consular employee who was killed in a separate incident. But the investigation is ongoing. Today is a Mexican national holiday, but the Consulate will be closed tomorrow to review its security posture.
QUESTION: Well, can you be – I mean, just generally, what did she do?
MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. I mean, worked in the Consulate, obviously – it was one of our busier consular sections to process --
QUESTION: Processing visas?
MR. CROWLEY: -- visas for citizens wanting – or for Mexicans wanting to travel to the United States. My understanding, that both of these – the spouse of the – our Consular employee, local national employee and her husband and – as well as Lesley Enriquez and her husband had both been at a private birthday party and were on their way – in the case of Lesley Enriquez, on their way back across the border. They lived on the U.S. side. She was a civil service employee. Beyond that, as to the circumstances of what happened, this is all part of the investigation.
QUESTION: What about the second part about the authorized departure?
MR. CROWLEY: Oh, the authorized departure was something that had – the decision had already been made and was about to be announced. Obviously, we’ve looked at the increased risk and criminality associated with – along the northern border between Mexico and the United States and had made that decision to offer – to authorize dependents to come back to the United States if they choose. I think the population is just over a hundred that would be potentially affected by this. As far as I know, it was just announced yesterday. I can’t say at this point how many have taken advantage of –
QUESTION: When was the decision made?
MR. CROWLEY: It was made last week.
QUESTION: And why –
MR. CROWLEY: Based on an assessment by diplomatic security about the conditions along the northern border.
QUESTION: Well, when last week?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I learned about it, I believe, on Friday.
QUESTION: Well, why was it not announced until Sunday?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think we were going to announce it as part of our revision of the travel advisory.
QUESTION: Were people able to take advantage of authorized departure before Sunday?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, these individuals that were involved in the incident yesterday would not have been affected by that announcement.
QUESTION: I’m not suggesting that they would have been. I’m just asking were there employees of the Embassy or the employee – families of employees of the consulates able to take advantage of authorized departure before Sunday?
MR. CROWLEY: I do not know.
QUESTION: Can you take that question? Because it goes to the whole double standard issue.
MR. CROWLEY: Double standard being?
QUESTION: The double standard being that when there is – when decisions like that are made, that they are not to be shared only within the Embassy community, but also made public. So if this decision was made and people were taking it and people knew about it and were taking advantage of it before Sunday, that would be (inaudible).
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that anyone was taking advantage of it before Sunday.
QUESTION: Aside from this incident on Saturday, are you aware, were there any threats directed at – have there been, recently, threats directed at Americans or American diplomats?
MR. CROWLEY: Not to my knowledge.
Read the whole Daily Press Briefing here.
- Three from US Consulate General Ciudad Juárez Dies in Drive-by Shooting.
- Six US Consulates in Mexico on Authorized Departure.