Monday, March 15, 2010

There were threats against US Diplomats along the Mexican border?

This one from the NYT: “The killings followed threats against American diplomats along the Mexican border and complaints from consulate workers that drug-related violence was growing untenable, American officials said. Even before the shootings, the State Department had quietly made the decision to allow consulate workers to evacuate their families across the border to the United States (read Two Drug Slayings in Mexico Rock U.S. Consulate).

I don’t know when the State Department had “quietly made the decision” or why “quietly” for the authorized departure of family members but the Department is required to adhere to the “no double standard” policy on important security threat information, including criminal information. Basically it means that if such information, if shared by the Department with the official U.S. community, generally should be made available to the non-official U.S. community if the underlying threat applies to both official and non-official Americans.

Since the Travel Warning was officially released on March 14, 2010, that seems to indicate that the decision to go on authorized departure happened on or about March 13, the day of the shooting. 

The State Department has now authorized the departure of the dependents of U.S. government personnel from U.S. consulates in the Northern Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros until April 12.

Below is Secretary Clinton’s statement released on March 14:

Today the men and women of the Department of State are mourning the murder of three people connected to the United States Consulate General in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. One American employee of the consulate was killed along with her husband, and the husband of a Mexican employee was also killed. I offer my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of these victims. The safety and security of our personnel and their families in Mexico and at posts around the world is always our highest priority. I have spoken with our Ambassador in Mexico and we are working with the Government of Mexico to do everything necessary to protect our people and to ensure that the perpetrators of these horrendous acts are brought to justice.

These appalling assaults on members of our own State Department family are, sadly, part of a growing tragedy besetting many communities in Mexico. They underscore the imperative of our continued commitment to work closely with the Government of President Calderón to cripple the influence of trafficking organizations at work in Mexico. This is a responsibility we must shoulder together, particularly in border communities where strong bonds of history, culture, and common interest bind the Mexican and the American people closely together.

The US Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pacual has also issued a statement on the March 13 killings of US Consulate staff in Ciudad Juarez saying in part:  

“Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton have affirmed that this tragedy underscores the absolute need for our continued commitment to work closely with the Calderon Administration to end the influence of drug trafficking organizations and the violence that they spawn. […] Together with President Obama and Secretary Clinton, I have pledged to our entire U.S. diplomatic community to work tirelessly, in full concert with our partners in the Government of Mexico, to do everything necessary to assure the security of our personnel and their families in Mexico and to ensure that the perpetrators of these horrendous acts are brought to justice.

Read Ambassador Pascual’s full statement here.

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