Like Data for Drugs
Nobody has the slightest idea who (what?) has been busy funneling $350 million worth of whiz-bang drug-bust border spy tech to the Mexican Army and Department of Defense. But if one thing is for certain it’s that all that fancy gear – which includes lots and lots of joint US-Mexico spy stations, but also a sizable, newly revealed Mexican Intelligence Center hidden under Mexico City – maybe isn’t worth shit against the relentless crush of increasingly brazen cartels.
The Center is the endpoint for thousands of live feeds from around the country, and as far as anyone can tell is the first of its kind in Latin America. It’s a round bunker lined with computer monitors and “giant screens,” and spans three floors deep beneath the manicured lawn of a federal police station in the capital, as the AFP reports. Street cameras snooping lowly mules, radars sniffing out coke ships and aircraft pulling in and out of Mexico, Global Hawk drones gazing indefatigably over the borderlands – all these realtime data are piped here. On the base floor alone, some 500 million files – “police reports, rap sheets and vehicle registrations,” and on and on – are housed in racks upon racks of servers.
“There is no other data fusion center like this in Latin America,” Francisco Niembro Gonzalez, under secretary for information technology at Mexico’s public security ministry, told reporters in a rare tour of the bunker, which went live three years ago under the crime-fighting program of outgoing President Felipe Calderon.