Mexican state reportedly ran secret spy group


MEXICO CITY -- The government of Nuevo Leon state has been running a secret agency that has spied on political parties, journalists, businessmen and labor leaders, according to El Norte, a newspaper in the state capital, Monterrey, that is Mexico's most distinguished daily.

The newspaper reported Sunday that Gov. Jorge Trevino's security adviser created the office five years ago to head off anything that might reflect badly on the administration.

Oscar Guerra Ibanez, spokesman for the state, denied yesterday that the agency had anything to do with the government. "It was a private company that made investigations and had nothing to with the administration," he said.

The Monterrey newspaper published bank documents that traced the 30-agent spy agency's payroll funds to two state agencies.

Among other things, the newspaper said, an agent spied on two minor leftist parties and reported the information to Jesus Arias, the state's director of government. Other agents attended news conferences and campaign events to find out what journalists and opposition political activists were saying.

The headquarters of the agency, the Security and Government Information Administration, was a few blocks from the government palace in Monterrey, the newspaper said.

According to the newspaper, the headquarters also contained files with "photos of politicians, businessmen and men in public life."

The newspaper indicated that disgruntled spies disclosed the existence of the agency because they were about to lose their jobs without receiving severance pay.

The attorney general's office in Mexico City said the agency is not under investigation.

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