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COVID-19 Information and Guidance


Baker Institute drug policy fellow Gary J. Hale recently published a paper on the January 2012 Senate testimony of U.S. intelligence chief James R. Clapper, who indicated that Mexican drug cartels and Mexico as a nation do not represent a threat to our national security interests. Hale, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent whose 30-year career included assignments as chief of intelligence in the DEA"s Houston field division and chief of the Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit in Washington, D.C., contends:

"While some spillover violence does in fact occur, it is generally confined to the border region, most specifically near the border city pairs, and rarely reaches the interior of the United States in such a manner that should cause alarm or incite fears of threats to national security, when compared to jihadist terrorism or other extremists that publicly proclaim their desire to kill Americans."

The fundamental difference between what happens in Mexico and what happens in the United States lies in the reason for the violence, Hale adds. Drug-related violence in Mexico is linked to cartels fighting to control lucrative drug routes into and out of the country. However, "once the drugs are in the United States, there is little to fight over; a drug delivered (inside the United States) is a drug sold. End of story."

 "In my opinion, [Clapper"s] report is the first objective view of the Mexico drug violence problem that has been generated by our government in recent years ... The analysis puts media and political hyperbole aside and accurately paints the drug violence situation as being a conflict fueled solely by criminal greed, as opposed to ideological or insurrectionist motivations directed against U.S. interests, whether they are in Mexico or in the American homeland."