October 2, 2012

A U.S. Embassy vehicle that was fired on by Mexican federal police on Aug. 24 may have been the target of an assassination attempt. A senior U.S. official tells the Associated Press that there is strong evidence that the officers were working for an organized-crime cartel when they shot at an armored SUV marked with diplomatic license plates near Mexico City. At the time, Mexican federal police said the shooting was a misunderstanding, as officers were at the time investigating a kidnapping in the area. The U.S. official tells the AP he doesn’t buy it: "That's not a 'We're trying to shake down a couple people for a traffic violation’ sort of operation. That's a 'We are specifically trying to kill the people in this vehicle.’”


A senior U.S. official says there is strong circumstantial evidence that Mexican federal police who fired on a U.S. Embassy vehicle, wounding two CIA officers, were working for organized crime in a targeted assassination attempt.

Meanwhile, a Mexican official with knowledge of the case confirmed on Tuesday that prosecutors are investigating whether the Beltran Leyva Cartel was behind the Aug. 24 ambush.

The Mexican official said that is among several lines of investigation into the shooting of an armored SUV that was clearly marked with diplomatic license plates on a rural road near Cuernavaca south of Mexico City. Federal police, at times battered by allegations of infiltration and corruption by drug cartels, have said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity as officers were looking into the kidnapping of a government employee in that area.

"That's not a 'We're trying to shake down a couple people for a traffic violation sort of operation. That's a 'We are specifically trying to kill the people in this vehicle'," a U.S. official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. "This is not a 'Whoops, we got the wrong people.'

Two CIA officers received non-life threatening injuries, and have returned to the U.S. A navy captain was uninjured, and radioed the Navy for assistance.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that Mexican military sources have told him that "the attack was not an error," and "the objective was to annihilate the three passengers in the car."

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