By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
According to North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Commander General Glen VanHerck, Russia is using Mexico as a hub to spy on and access the United States.
Speaking during a hearing before U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday, March 14, VanHerck, who is also head of the United States Northern Command (USNorthCom), said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using his close ties with Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), to gain access to U.S. confidential data by stacking his embassy in Mexico City with spies.
“Right now the largest portion of the Russian Intelligence Directorate (GRU) members in the world are in Mexico,” VanHerck said.
“These are Russian intelligence personnel. And they closely monitor their opportunities to influence and access the United States.”
VanHerck did not disclose the exact number of GRU agents currently in Mexico, but did say that the GRU has been involved in interference in U.S. elections, attempting a political coup in Montenegro, cyberattacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK in 2018.
“There are actors like China and Russia that are very aggressive and active throughout the Northern Command area of responsibility, including the Bahamas and Mexico,” VanHerck said.
VanHerck said that the current social instability in Mexico created by warring drug cartels has created conditions that can be exploited by agents from Russia and China that could affect U.S. national security.
“Transnational criminal organizations create an environment that is not conducive to raising a family, to economic success. And we see that happening right on our border, in Mexico,” VanHerck said.
“My concern is that such instability creates the opportunity for actors like China, Russia and others, which may have nefarious activities in mind, to seek access and influence in our (Northern Command’s) area of responsibility from a U.S. national security perspective.”
Created in 1942, the GRU survived the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is currently, together with the Russian Federal Security Service (SVR), one of the two Russian agencies in charge of espionage abroad. The GRU has its own special forces brigades of international agents.
Just last month, Poland arrested a Spanish citizen for allegedly being a GRU agent, and the last week, Slovakia charged two people of passing information to undercover officers of the GRU.
VanHerck said that while there has been increased military cooperation between the United States and Mexico in recent months, the high presence of GRU agents in the country could pose a serious threat to U.S. national security.