U.S. workers shot in Mexico may be CIA employees

Mexican President Felipe Calderon apologized to the United States on Tuesday for an attack last week in which two U.S. government workers were wounded when Mexican federal police fired multiple rounds at their armored U.S. Embassy vehicle.

Speaking at a forum on Mexico’s security situation, Calderon turned to U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne and promised that the Mexican attorney general would get to the bottom of the case. Calderon also suggested that 12 federal police officers arrested Monday for alleged involvement in the shooting might have ties to criminal organizations.

Calderon’s comments coincided with new indications that the wounded U.S. officials were CIA employees. The agency link was first reported in the Mexican media. U.S. public records suggest that the name reportedly used by one of the shooting victims was a CIA cover identity associated with a post office box in Dunn Loring, Va. The agency declined to comment.

Calderon also did not address those reports Tuesday.

The CIA has expanded its presence in Mexico significantly in recent years as part of a broader U.S. effort to assist the Mexican government’s crackdown on drug cartels. Former senior CIA officials said the agency has shared intelligence with Mexico and helped its elite counter-narcotics teams root out corruption and identify officers with ties to drug lords.

But the former officials said the CIA has been frustrated by delays that can last months before Mexican authorities mount operations based on U.S.-provided intelligence and acknowledged that lingering mistrust makes the agency reluctant to share its most sensitive information even with vetted Mexican units.

Top Mexican officials have long denied or played down links between the CIA and their military.

The two U.S. employees and a Mexican navy captain serving as an interpreter were heading Friday to a navy training camp south of Mexico City when, the U.S. Embassy says, they were ambushed.

One of the wounded men was attached to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and the other appeared to be in Mexico on temporary assignment, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation.

Officials with the FBI, the Pentagon and the Drug Enforcement Administration have said that the men were not employees of their agencies. The State Department also has declined to comment on whether the men were agency employees.

But an examination of public records suggests that the name used by one of the men may be fictitious, with similarities to others created by the CIA to provide cover for its officers overseas.

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