From WND, :
While Washington is focused on finger-pointing over responsibility for 9-11, some of the 100 members of the Houston Task Force on Terrorism say Mexico is not fully cooperating on preventing the next jihadist attack on the U.S., a report by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin finds.
The weekly online intelligence newsletter has learned from a source on the task force of fresh Mexico-based threats to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the George Bush International Airport and industrial targets linked to the oil and power industries.
Task-force members say agents from various state, federal and local agencies are, because of corruption and bureaucratic red tape in the Mexican government, forced to sift through thousands of tips connected to possible terrorist build-ups south of the border without the kind of guidance and cooperation they would expect from a neighbor and ally.
One task-force source said the Mexican security community, especially the Center for Investigations and National Security, is still mired with political corruption and that members in President Vicente Fox’s own administration insist they should be informed about any high-priority intelligence before it is passed on to U.S. authorities.
President Fox’s administration, sources say, is suppressing information that might reveal the actual size of anti-U.S. terror cells in the capital, Mexico City, and their connection to militant Muslim groups around Mexico and in many Latin American hotspots.
Sources say Guadalajara and Tijuana are two Mexican cities harboring anti-American terror cells. Nationwide, there are more than 70 anti-terrorism task forces like the Houston agency. They incorporate thousands of agents. In Texas there are operational task forces in El Paso, San Antonio and Dallas.
Some of the information coming from Mexico indicates serious preparations by terrorists to cross the border with well-designed missions. Intelligence sources say the quality of information filtering through the Mexican government is often compromised by internal struggles within the Mexican drug cartels or by corrupt customs and police officials.
A task-force source in El Paso said the lack of cooperation from Mexico has resulted in few cases where U.S. authorities were able to intercept infiltration attempts by Arab nationals. In one case, two years ago, a number of Iraqis tried to cross the border and were arrested thanks to a tip from Mexico. But that kind of cooperation is the exception rather than the rule, the sources say.
One task-force source said it is only a question of time before the U.S. pays the heavy price of another major terrorist attack as a result of the breakdown in cooperation between the two countries.
“It’s not anymore a question of if, but rather of when and where,” he said.
Last month, President Bush and Fox pledged to become “partners” who are committed to “building a safer, more democratic and more prosperous hemisphere.”
“In this age of terror,” said Bush, “the security of our borders is more important than ever, and the cooperation between Mexico and American border and law enforcement is stronger than ever.”
Mingling at Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch, both men said that, through a “Border Partnership Agreement,” their governments were committed to “improving the infrastructure at ports of entry along our common border,” while “using technology to allow law-abiding travelers to cross the border quickly and easily” as “officials concentrate on stopping possible threats.”
“Our Mexican and American officials are working together to arrest dangerous criminals, including drug smugglers and those who traffic in human beings. President Fox and I are determined to protect the safety of American people and the Mexican people,” Bush said.
But U.S. law enforcement sources actually working with their counterparts in Mexico say they haven’t seen the kind of cooperation Bush talked about.
Meanwhile, there are growing concerns about growing terrorist operations throughout Latin America. With Islamic “charities” under increasing international pressure and scrutiny to cut ties with terrorists, al-Qaida and other allied organizations are expanding operations in Latin America, establishing both legitimate and criminal enterprises to fund future operations.
Counterterror experts monitoring the Central American scene are concerned with news that so-called youth gangs active in Central America are now moving north into Mexico. The youth gangs, known to be among the most ruthless street criminals in that part of the world, prey on prospective illegal immigrants. Some indications from Honduras and Guatemala suggest that gangs known as Mara-18 and Salvatrucha are already active in the Mexican state of Chiapas, stretching their activity to Tijuana close to the U.S. border.
A number of Mara-18 members are known to have ties with drug dealers, including those identified with some of the most radical Islamic jihadists.