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Corruption Chronicles

Secret Service Catches Mexican Diplomat Red-Handed

A Mexican diplomat traveling with President Felipe Calderon’s delegation was caught by the U.S. Secret Service stealing several mobile telephones from White House aides during this week’s North American Summit in New Orleans.

The Mexican attaché actually appeared on Secret Service surveillance video stealing six or seven Black Berries belonging to White House staff members. The handheld devices were left on a table outside a special room where Mexico’s delegation met with President George W. Bush.

As is customary during high-level meetings, everyone entering the room was required to leave their cell phone, Black Berry and other such devices on that table. American officials discovered their equipment missing when they tried to retrieve it after the meeting.

That’s because Mexican presidential aide Rafael Quintero took six or seven of the devices and he was captured by Secret Service surveillance videotape. Quintero made it all the way to the airport before the Secret Service actually caught up with him and he initially denied any wrongdoing. When agents showed him the incriminating tape on a portable DVD player, he actually invoked diplomatic immunity to avoid detention.

Then he boarded an airplane to Mexico with his delegation, as if nothing ever happened. Mexican officials at least had the sense to fire him, saying that the government “deeply regrets this incident.” An embassy spokesman said that Quintero will be responsible for explaining his actions to the American authorities conducting an investigation.


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