Mexican Government Confirms That U.S. Drones Have Flown Over Its Territory
By Dialogo March 18, 2011
On 16 March, the Mexican government confirmed that U.S. unarmed pilotless aircraft (drones) have flown over its territory in order to gather intelligence information on organized crime, in actions under Mexican control and in compliance with domestic law.
“The Mexican government, on specific occasions and in relation to specific events, has requested from the United States government the support of unmanned aircraft in order to obtain specific items” of security information, the Mexican National Security Council, a government body, announced in a statement.
The overflights have taken place “particularly in the border area,” and their “objectives, the information to be collected, and the specific tasks to be carried out have been under the control of Mexican authorities,” the council affirmed.
These actions have “a basis in” Mexican “federal law,” it emphasized.
The U.S. daily the New York Times revealed on 16 March that Washington had begun to send drones, already used along the two countries’ shared border, into Mexican territory for intelligence actions against Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, at Mexico’s request and under its direction.
The newspaper said that U.S. President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderón, formally agreed on these high-altitude flights at a meeting held on 3 March, but that they kept them secret due to their possible political and legal implications.