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03/12/2020 | US wants to share sensitive intelligence with Honduras to combat drug traffickers

Joseph Fitsanakis

A PROPOSED MEMORANDUM OF understanding could enable the sharing of extremely sensitive intelligence between the United States and Honduras, as part of an effort by Washington to stop the impoverished Central American country from becoming a drug-trafficking stronghold.

 

However, some in the US intelligence community are concerned that the sensitive intelligence given to the Honduran government may be passed on to the drug cartels by paid informants.

According to the Reuters news agency, American and Honduran officials are currently finalizing a proposed memorandum of understanding between the two nations’ intelligence communities. The memorandum would allow the US to provide the Honduran government with information about secret flights carrying drugs, which are known to regularly enter the Honduran airspace. The drugs are then trafficked north and subsequently enter the US through Mexico. Reuters said that, although the memorandum of understanding is in the drafting stage, the Honduran government appears to be willing to accommodate its conditions. The latter include provisions allowing for planes that do not identify themselves and are believed to be carrying drugs to be shot down by military aircraft.

There are, however, concerns among some in the US intelligence community that the Honduran government and its institutions cannot be trusted with sensitive intelligence. They argue that the corruption at all levels of the Honduran government and intelligence establishments is so extensive, that the drug traffickers will be able to access the information provided by the US government. It should be noted that last year a court in New York convicted one of Central America’s most notorious cocaine traffickers, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez (pictured), who is the brother of Honduras’ current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez. During the trial, it was repeatedly alleged that President Hernandez provided protection to his brother and other drug traffickers in Honduras.

But Honduran officials, including the country’s ambassador to the US, Luis Fernando Suazo Barahona, point out that those receiving sensitive intelligence form the US would be carefully vetted —and presumably polygraphed— prior to being given access to the information. Reuters reports that the US Department of State says it is “taking steps to resume information-sharing [with the government of Honduras] for aerial interception upon the successful negotiation and conclusion” of the memorandum of understanding that is currently being drafted.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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