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Mexico not 'failed state,' US official says

Associated Press / March 27, 2009
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WASHINGTON - The Mexican government is not on the verge of collapse, the top US intelligence official said yesterday in an attempt to tamp down increasing alarm over the powerful and violent drug cartels operating in the country.

"Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state," said National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair at his first news conference yesterday.

Echoing the assessment of Mexico's leaders, Blair said the dramatic increase in killings in Mexico is a result of that government's crackdown on drug cartels.

A US military planning report issued in January warned that the escalating violence is dangerously destabilizing Mexico and warned that its government could collapse. But Blair said there is no danger of that.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will dispatch nearly 500 more federal agents to the border, along with X-ray machines and drug-sniffing dogs, to stop the spillover of violence into the United States from Mexican drug smugglers and immigrant smugglers. National Guard troops might also be sent.

"The Mexican campaign is our campaign," Blair said.

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