Central Intelligence Agency

Former CIA agent Robert Greiner speaks about counterterrorism at Sid Richardson Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Mariana Gonzalez | Daily Texan Staff

The United States undermined Afghanistan’s independence by taking the leading role in the fight against the Taliban, according to former CIA agent Robert Grenier.

“After 2005, we as a government made a very serious mistake,” Grenier said. “We decided in effect that Afghanistan was too important to [leave to] the whims of Afghans.”

Grenier spoke at a campus event hosted by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft on Thursday to promote new his book, “88 Days to Kandahar.” 

Grenier served as a senior CIA counterterrorism official until he was dismissed by former CIA director Porter Goss in 2006.   

Overwhelming Afghanistan with U.S. military forces led to unsustainable progress the Afghans could not maintain, Grenier said.

“We completely overwhelmed this very small, very primitive, agrarian country with a tiny GDP and, at best, nascent national institutions,” Grenier said. “We should have known and quickly learned that the successes we had [and] the progress we were able to make was progress that couldn’t be sustained by Afghans over the long term.”

Contingent forces are necessary in Afghanistan to ensure that Afghanistan’s government can transition to peace, Grenier said.

“If the Taliban … control substantial parts of the country, we’re to help the government to sort that out,” Grenier said.

According to Grenier, given the weak leadership from Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan, the country’s fate was entirely determined by the United States and the Taliban.

“He was an admirable fellow in a lot of respects, but also kind of unsteady,” Grenier said. “By the end, it was just hopeless.”

International relations and global studies junior James McNally said strong leadership is needed to guide Afghanistan toward independence.

“Given the tremendous institutional knowledge that we have about Afghanistan, we are in a great position to make positive effects within that area,” McNally said. “It comes to helping the good people and hurting the bad people.”

Plan II and advertising Chandler Michaels sophomore said Grenier’s original plan for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan rightly sought to ensure Afghanistan’s independence.  

“I think it was really interesting that he was the one who formulated that plan,” Michaels said. “The U.S., just as a support system for the Afghan people, is a really important part of the plan of support — without taking over [Afghanistan].”

John Yoo, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, spoke at the Union about the executive and legislative branches’ different roles as defined by the Constitution on Thursday morning.
Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

In a lecture on campus Thursday, John Yoo, who helped craft interrogation policies for the George W. Bush administration, said intelligence-gathering and the use of torture are the only way to stop terrorist attacks in the United States.

Yoo, who is currently a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, spoke at the Union about the executive and legislative branches’ different roles as defined by the Constitution. However, during the Q&A portion of the event, several audience members asked about his past as a legal consultant.

Yoo helped craft the CIA’s legal justification for using highly-debated methods of interrogation for al-Qaeda terrorists during the Bush administration. He said there was a great demand for intelligence after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., and because the al-Qaeda terrorist group didn’t have territory or armed forces, the U.S. had to use different tactics to fight them.

“This war is not about who has what fire power at their disposal, which is the way we fought previous wars,” Yoo said. “It’s about getting intelligence.”

Three months ago, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released a report which concluded C.I.A. officials often exaggerated the results of their interrogations to the White House. Interrogations included techniques such as prolongued sleep deprivation and "rectal feeding" as well as waterboarding, the report said.

According to Yoo, CIA directors who interrogated terrorists said the information those interrogations yielded was critical for determining the U.S.’s actions against al-Qaeda. The U.S. hasn’t faced any serious terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001 largely because of interrogations that included torture, Yoo said. 

“Of course, many people in society disagree with the decision [to use torture to interrogate people], and I knew when I was making it that it would be a controversial and difficult decision,” Yoo said. “But I still think … it was still the right decision to make.”

Government senior Tasbiha Batool said she thinks Yoo should legally be considered a war criminal because he authorized torture against human beings.

“That’s the epitome of shame, when you do something wrong, and you can’t even admit that you did it wrong,” Batool said. “He said he has no remorse, and he would go back and do it again and, to me, I don’t understand that — just even on a very humanitarian level.”

History graduate student Chris Babits said he thinks just because the U.S. has the resources and ability to use extreme measures of torture doesn’t mean that they should.

“I think that [Yoo] just has a very simplistic view on American history, and he conflates power and greatness, and so this is, in my opinion, abuse of American power,” Babits said. “A responsible president knows when not to use power.”

John Rizzo, former acting general counsel for the CIA, spoke Tuesday at the LBJ School of Public Affairs about his role in post 9/11 CIA actions, which included approving advanced interrogation techniques. 

During the talk, Rizzo spoke about his book, “Company Man,” which focuses on his 34-year career in the CIA. Rizzo said that he hopes readers will come away with better knowledge of what happened during the years following September 11, 2001. According to Rizzo, controversial actions were taken for the protection of Americans.   

“I’d like those who read the book to come away with an understanding of those post, especially those immediate post-9/11 years, and the decisions that we all had to make,” Rizzo said. “[For] me personally, [they] were very difficult decisions. They weren’t matters we enter in so lightly, but that, for the sake of the nation, to protect the nation from another catastrophic attack we felt we had to take, and I know some people will always questions the wisdom of some of those measures.”

Government senior Vineet Surapaneni said that the CIA’s handling of the questionable interrogation tactics made them vulnerable to criticism.

“From what I remember, it didn’t seem like it was handled particularly well by the CIA or the administration,” Surapaneni said. “It was like a dual approach they were set in that they were continuing with the interrogation techniques, but then they weren’t open to criticism at all or any form. They would just immediately say ‘national security’ and sort of clam up.”

Robert Chesney, law professor and associate dean of academic affairs for the law school, said Rizzo’s memoir gives readers unique insight to the CIA’s operations during his time as a lawyer in the CIA. 

“This book provides a really indispensable perspective on what it looked like from the inside of the CIA legal advisors offices, which is obviously a terribly important perspective to have,” Chesney said. “Some people are going to read this and be very unhappy with what he has to say. Other people are going to love it.”   

Rizzo said the lawyers he hired in his wake at the CIA were his most important legacies.

“During my time, I hired 100 new lawyers for CIA, people from the outside,” Rizzo said. “The legacy that I left behind when I retired from CIA is two generations of very, very smart [and] very careful lawyers.”

Photo Credit: Hannah Hadidi | Daily Texan Staff

Editors note: In this weekly series, The Daily Texan takes an analytical look at key characters in major television series. Spoilers will frequently be included. 

 

Last Sunday heralded the return of Showtime’s hit espionage drama “Homeland.” For the first two seasons, Nicholas Brody, an enigmatic prisoner of war turned al-Qaeda operative, was the volatile dynamic at the center of the series’ story. The bombshell season two finale left Brody on the run, framed for a devastating attack on the CIA. The third season picks up two months later, with his handler/lover Carrie Mathison on trial, the CIA in ruins and Brody completely AWOL.  

But what’s next? Showrunners Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa have stated Abu Nazir’s former apprentice won’t make an actual appearance until later in the season. Under regular circumstances, this kind of narrative decision would be a damning move, like taking Bill Cosby out of “The Cosby Show.” The writers have done such an exquisite job of building up the spirit of this character that the show can get by simply through dropping his name. The energy of his pursed-lipped ginger angst emanates from all of the characters.

Over the past two seasons, Brody has proven to be one of the most intrinsically complicated characters ever produced on television. Marine, Muslim, patriot, family man, terrorist; Brody is all of these things. He could immediately be pegged as an antagonist, but the writers dare us to overcome our post 9/11 predispositions and actually care for him. Brody provides a middle ground, letting audiences concede and, to a thin extent, sympathize with why a terrorist feels the need to perform certain acts. His anger at the unjust death of Issa, a young boy who showed him kindness during his captivity, at the hands of the U.S. government resonates universally and shows that allegiance to country is trumped only by the power of love and love lost.

He also offers an extreme allegory for the confusing and chaotic nature of a soldier’s post-war life.  Both his family and his friends no longer seem to know him. As evidenced in season two, the only person Brody truly connects with is the most unlikely — his pursuer, CIA Agent Mathison. The duplicitous relationship between these two has always shared a strange and impossible honesty on two opposite extremes. In the wacky world of “Homeland,” the song goes, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies in your bedroom, preferably with their clothes off.”

The absence of this character in season 3 begs the question — does “Homeland” still need Brody? It has been mentioned by creators that Brody’s time on the show may be reaching an end and I hope to the flying spaghetti monster that this does not happen. “Homeland” has stretched far beyond its grounded roots in season one to become a somewhat unrealistic, but nonetheless entertaining, thriller. To take Brody away, just because, would feel a bit contrived in the sense of the show’s current thematic atmosphere.

It would also be a mammoth waste of potential, since Damian Lewis’ performance as Brody is among the best in TV’s current roster. Exhibitng a quiet sense of confusion, anger and passion that is difficult to balance, Lewis effectively makes the audience care for a terrorist. There is still much regarding Brody needing to be resolved. There’s no doubt the show’s writers will continue to create new and exciting reasons for this character to exist. “Homeland” has a feast of thrills to serve this season, and hopefully Brody remains an essential part of the main course.

“Homeland” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Showtime. 

BISMARCK, N.D. — Managers at dozens of small airports have expressed outrage at federal officials for hauling new full-body scanners away from their facilities and sending them to large hubs that haven’t yet upgraded older machines criticized for showing too much anatomy.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration contractors were threatened with arrest after officials at a Montana airport said they received no notice before the workers arrived. In North Dakota, the scanners are set to be yanked from a terminal remodeled last year just to fit the new machines.

Jessica Chastain, who stars as Maya in “Zero Dark Thirty,” won a Golden Globe for Best Actress on Sunday night.

For many leading roles, especially those written for females, likability is key, and their ability to charm is pivotal to their film’s opening weekend. For Jessica Chastain, who plays determined CIA agent Maya in “Zero Dark Thirty,” getting on the audience’s good side doesn’t appear to be too difficult for one very simple reason — she’s playing the woman who caught Osama bin Laden. What’s not to like?

Taking place over the 10 years between 9/11 and bin Laden’s death in 2011, “Zero Dark Thirty” methodically lays out the puzzle pieces for Maya and other agents to assemble. It’s a no-frills approach for director Kathryn Bigelow and the film unfolds with the same unrelenting focus as “The Hurt Locker,” her Academy Award-winning last film.

Jessica Chastain gives a performance brimming with complexities, finding genuine humanity between the pages of Mark Boal’s screenplay. Maya’s determination drives her, but it’s the intelligent, infallible confidence that Chastain brings to the role that makes you root for her and her unquenchable hunger for her target that makes her a force of nature. It is a riveting achievement for Chastain and a high watermark in her quickly growing filmography.

The figures surrounding Maya in the CIA are rather thinly defined, but Bigelow intelligently fills Maya’s sounding board with familiar, likeable faces. Kyle Chandler is reliably stern but reasonable as Maya’s exhausted boss and coworkers like the excitable Jennifer Ehle and subdued Mark Strong round things out nicely. Jason Clarke stands out as a fellow torturer and he brings a resigned certainty to his subtle but effective arc.

The story of bin Laden’s capture is a challenging one, both for the scope it requires and the number of false starts and dead ends in the rabbit hole he disappeared in after 9/11. However, Bigelow makes the small accumulation of details and evidence engrossing and it’s a small victory every time Maya cracks another bit of information. Much controversy has been created from “Zero Dark Thirty’s” depiction of torture, but it’s less an endorsement than a simple acknowledgement of the moral grey area inherent to the story it’s telling. Bigelow handles the challenging material with grace and Chastain makes Maya’s acclimation to the CIA’s methods a gradual but chilling shift.

Even as Bigelow hits the audience with an onslaught of names, places and faces, she balances things out with moments of quiet levity and masterfully constructed tension. The film is beautifully paced, and its climax, the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, is taut with intensity and brutal efficiency. It’s a cathartic moment for both the characters and the audience and it feels like an earned victory thanks to Bigelow’s remarkable focus and sparse style.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is an exceptional film top to bottom, but it’s certainly not an easy one to love. There’s no warmth, no soaring violins when bin Laden’s body is identified, but the toughness and lack of sentimentality is admirable. The straight-on approach to the hunt for bin Laden makes the film less of a celebration and something more akin to journalism, a sharply sketched portrait of the woman who found our country’s greatest enemy.

Published on January 14, 2013 as "'Zero Dark Thirty' characterized by strong female role". 

In this June 29, 2012 file photo, Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress said Sunday they want to know more details about the FBI investigation that revealed an extramarital affair between ex-CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer, questioning when the retired general popped up in the FBI inquiry, whether national security was compromised and why they weren’t told sooner.

“We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The FBI was investigating harassing emails sent by Petraeus biographer and girlfriend Paula Broadwell to a second woman. That probe of Broadwell’s emails revealed the affair between Broadwell and Petraeus. The FBI contacted Petraeus and other intelligence officials, and director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Petraeus to resign.

A senior U.S. military official identified the second woman as Jill Kelley, 37, who lives in Tampa, Fla., and serves as a social liaison to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. A U.S. official said the coalition countries represented at the military’s Central Command in Tampa gave Kelley an appreciation certificate on which she was referred to as an “honorary ambassador” to the coalition, but she has no official status.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kelley is known to drop the “honorary” part and refer to herself as an ambassador.

The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said Kelley had received harassing emails from Broadwell, which led the FBI to examine her email account and eventually discover her relationship with Petraeus.

A former associate of Petraeus confirmed the target of the emails was Kelley, but said there was no affair between the two, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the retired general’s private life. The associate, who has been in touch with Petraeus since his resignation, says Kelley and her husband were longtime friends of Petraeus and wife, Holly.

Petraeus resigned while lawmakers still had questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate and CIA base in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Lawmakers said it’s possible that Petraeus will still be asked to appear on Capitol Hill to testify about what he knew about the U.S. response to that incident.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the circumstances of the FBI probe smacked of a cover-up by the White House.

“It seems this (the investigation) has been going on for several months and, yet, now it appears that they’re saying that the FBI didn’t realize until Election Day that General Petraeus was involved. It just doesn’t add up,” said King, R-N.Y.

Petraeus, 60, quit Friday after acknowledging an extramarital relationship. He has been married 38 years to Holly Petraeus, with whom he has two adult children, including a son who led an infantry platoon in Afghanistan as an Army lieutenant.

Broadwell, a 40-year-old graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and an Army Reserve officer, is married with two young sons.

Attempts to reach Kelleyand Broadwell were not immediately successful.

Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell will be the subject of meetings Wednesday involving congressional intelligence committee leaders, FBI deputy director Sean Joyce and CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

Petraeus had been scheduled to appear before the committees on Thursday to testify on what the CIA knew and what the agency told the White House before, during and after the attack in Benghazi. Republicans and some Democrats have questioned the U.S. response and protection of diplomats stationed overseas.

Morell was expected to testify in place of Petraeus, and lawmakers said he should have the answers to their questions. But Feinstein and others didn’t rule out the possibility that Congress will compel Petraeus to testify about Benghazi at a later date, even though he’s relinquished his job.“I don’t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during and after the attack if General Petraeus doesn’t testify,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wants to create a joint congressional committee to investigate the U.S. response to that attack.

Feinstein said she first learned of Petraeus’ affair from the media late last week, and confirmed it in a phone call Friday with Petraeus. She eventually was briefed by the FBI and said so far there was no indication that national security was breached.

Still, Feinstein called the news “a heartbreak” for her personally and U.S. intelligence operations, and said she didn’t understand why the FBI didn’t give her a heads up as soon as Petraeus’ name emerged in the investigation.

“We are very much able to keep things in a classified setting,” she said. “At least if you know, you can begin to think and then to plan. And, of course, we have not had that opportunity.”

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

FBI officials say the committees weren’t informed until Friday, one official said, because the matter started as a criminal investigation into harassing emails sent by Broadwell to another woman.

Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Feinstein said she has not been told the precise relationship between Petraeus and the woman who reported the harassing emails to the FBI.

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, called Petraeus “a great leader” who did right by stepping down and still deserves the nation’s gratitude. He also didn’t rule out calling Petraeus to testify on Benghazi at some point.

“He’s trying to put his life back together right now and that’s what he needs to focus on,” Chambliss said.

King appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Feinstein was on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham spoke on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” and Chambliss was interviewed on ABC’s “This Week.”

Carl Colby grew up as the son of a spy, not necessarily a father. Shrouded in mystery, William Colby spent nearly 30 years serving the United States as both CIA director and Spymaster. In Colby’s self-directed film, “The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby,” he attempts to delve into the complex life his father led all the while exploring the turbulent political scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The film was screened Tuesday during election night at the A.C.E.S. building.

“This occurred when the executive branch under [Richard] Nixon was under fire. There was a lot of hostility between the Democratic Congress and the Republican administration, Watergate and Vietnam,” Bartholomew Sparrow, a government professor acquainted with Carl Colby who coordinated the event, said. “So because of this it doesn’t give [William] Colby much room to be an innovator or an entrepreneur or a big leader.”

The movie serves as a combination of history and Carl Colby’s personal experiences. Infusing the historical events of the ‘60s and ‘70s with his own father’s struggles and ambitions, Carl Colby finds a balance between informational and personal.

Colby’s mother gave the most insightful interviews. Married to William Colby for nearly 30 years, she lived a life that at times she did not even understand. Changing identities daily, she lived life undercover and on a need-to-know basis.

“This is not my story. It’s my father’s story. I was trying to make you be me,” Carl Colby said. “My mother is charming and very articulate, but the privilege that you get is that she’s talking to me. She isn’t talking for the ages as much, so you get this intimacy in her interviews.”

Carl Colby’s personal commentary evolves as the story of his father progresses. The beginning of the film shows a naive Carl Colby childishly admiring his father, the spy. But as he comes of age in the late Vietnam era, Carl Colby begins to question the morality and motives of his father.

“I always adored him. He was a god figure. He was the boss. He ran the house. What he said goes. He picks everything, and my mother went along with it,” Colby said. “But I had always respected him, and then I started to question what he was doing. And as I became a teenager and the Vietnam era came around, I started to question these things. ‘Well, who was he, and is he really guilty of these things?’ It makes you wonder.”

William Colby was appointed director of the CIA under Nixon and later served under Gerald Ford. In the mid-seventies, William Colby was brought before Congress first to testify on the Phoenix Program, a controversial village-based approach to combat in Vietnam, and then to justify the existence of the CIA. Revealing too much information, William Colby was promptly removed as head of the CIA in late 1975.

“I think he was a dedicated soldier who took on every tough assignment until he was asked to lie to Congress. I think he was unsettled by being thrown out of the CIA, by the whole experience of having to go before Congress, and then being cast off like a sacrificial lamb by the administration,” Colby said. “He had very little respect for Ford, [Donald] Rumsfeld, [Henry] Kissinger and {Dick] Cheney, the whole crowd. He felt like they were politically expedient.”

After he left the CIA, William Colby became a shadow of his former self or as his son describes him, a ghost.

“There are lots of successes: people who had hoped for the best, promoted to this, promoted to that. It’s the ambition, its palpable. You can feel it,” Colby said. “Washington is full of ghosts, men walking around who were somebody.”

Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, center, in “Argo,” a rescue thriller about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

At this point in his career, any avid moviegoer is actually looking forward to Ben Affleck’s films. If you’d told me that 10 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. After all, Affleck was in more than his fair share of terrible movies, and it wasn’t until his 2007 directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone” that audiences were ready to take him seriously again. With “Argo,” Affleck proves that he’s got a handle on action, tension and entertaining dialogue, producing arguably his most accomplished work as a director yet.

Set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, “Argo” tells the story of six American embassy workers who managed to avoid capture by hiding in the Canadian ambassador’s home and the CIA’s attempts to return them to friendly soil. Tony Mendez (Affleck) is brought in to consult on the project and ends up spearheading an initiative to smuggle the diplomats out as part of a film crew for a sci-fi film that doesn’t exist.

The most surprising thing about “Argo” is how funny it is. Most of the middle section of the film focuses on Mendez’s interactions with John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin,) his contacts in Hollywood, and the guys who help him get his fake production, a “Star Wars” rip-off called “Argo,” off the ground. Arkin and Goodman get “Argo’s” best dialogue by far, and Goodman shines with his wry, beautifully timed delivery of each and every line. For a good chunk of time, “Argo” is just as much a Hollywood satire as it is political thriller, and Affleck walks that tonal tightrope with grace.

When he dives into the situation in Iran, “Argo” is just as entertaining. Affleck stages the grand takeover of the American embassy fantastically, cutting between staged recreations and legitimate archival footage to harrowing effect. Once Mendez goes to Iran to rescue the diplomats, the film takes on some remarkable tension, especially in its third act. Affleck wrings some spectacularly squirmy suspense out of things as simple as waiting in an airport security line. The third act is fairly brilliant, bringing all of the film’s disparate elements together for a climax that’s subdued but no less excellent for it.

Affleck has also assembled a sprawling, impressive cast for his film. Actors like Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishe and the wonderfully named Scoot McNairy all impress as the American diplomats. But the film’s ensemble truly shines when Affleck depicts the CIA’s involvement in their rescue. Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina and a passionate, fierce Bryan Cranston all show up here, turning in strong, effective performances. Affleck is arguably the star of the film, but his performance is quiet and understated, letting the actors around him stand out. It’s also worth mentioning just how well Affleck makes his film look like it was made, and set, in the ‘70s. Every detail of the production is measured to perfection, and each member of the cast is given some pretty heinous or majestic (depending on your taste) outfits and hairstyles to work with, all of which makes for an experience that feels retro, but not dated.

This weekend is full of films about movies. “Sinister” is an intelligent rumination on what we take away from horror movies, and “Seven Psychopaths” is a hilarious, self-aware look at violence in cinema. However, “Argo” is the best of the bunch: an intense but vastly entertaining story that proves once and for all that truth is stranger than fiction and that Ben Affleck is one of the best filmmakers working today.

Printed on Friday, October 12, 2012 as: Affleck ridicules Hollywood in historical, political thriller

MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials said Wednesday that two Americans wounded in a shooting attack by federal police on a U.S. Embassy vehicle are employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, and acknowledged they have returned to the United States. 

A Mexican federal official whose agency does not allow him to be quoted by name said the wounded Americans are CIA employees. U.S. officials wouldn’t confirm which agency the men work for or say what work they were performing in Mexico.

On Tuesday, the Mexican navy issued a statement saying the Americans were visiting a training course being held in a rural, mountainous area south of Mexico City. Some local press had previously said the Americans were acting as trainers or instructors.