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National Intelligence Centre
Centro Nacional de Inteligencia
Sello del Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (México).svg
Official Seal of the CNI
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 13, 1989; 33 years ago (1989-02-13)
Preceding agency
  • Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (1989-2018)
HeadquartersCamino Real a Contreras No. 35, Col. La Concepción, Magdalena Contreras, Ciudad de México
19°18′14″N 99°14′10″W / 19.304°N 99.236°W / 19.304; -99.236Coordinates: 19°18′14″N 99°14′10″W / 19.304°N 99.236°W / 19.304; -99.236
EmployeesClassified (estimated around 3,600)
Annual budget128 million dollars (2019)[1]
Agency executive
  • Audomaro Martínez Zapata[2], General Director[2]
Parent departmentSecretariat of Security and Civilian Protection

The Centro Nacional de Inteligencia or CNI, is a Mexican intelligence agency controlled by the Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection. Until 2018, the agency's official title was Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (Center for Investigation and National Security), commonly known as CISEN, which was established in 1989 after its predecessors ceased to operate. The CNI is the main intelligence agency in Mexico.

Formally, the CNI is charged with "investigations and intelligence, which contribute to the preservation of the State's integrity, stability and endurance".[3]


The Center for Investigation and National Security was created February 13, 1989, in order to provide the Mexican state a civil intelligence agency more in line with the political and social transformations experienced by the country at that time and suitable for cope with the challenges posed by the end of the Cold War. The CNI has developed an intelligence system designed to alert about civil risks and threats to national security and has trained a body of experienced intelligence professionals to serve the nation. Throughout its existence, it has witnessed the transition to a political system that is increasingly pluralistic, the revolution in communications and information technologies and the configuration of a complex international environment poses new challenges to national security. These realities have forced the CNI to embark on a process of constant transformation, to explore new mechanisms for cooperation and develop new capabilities that, without neglecting the traditional themes of national security, enable alerts from a strategic perspective on an increasingly broad spectrum of risks and threats involving, among others, the social, economic and political development, environmental and epidemiological contingencies and natural disasters.

In the late 1990s, there was a decisive step in the consolidation of the vocation of CISEN to generate strategic intelligence to the transfer of the structures responsible for neutralizing the threats to the newly created Federal Preventive Police. This allowed institutional focus efforts on strengthening the work of collecting, processing and dissemination of strategic intelligence. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers in New York as well as the bombings in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005, respectively, marked a watershed for the international intelligence community and returned to put the fight against international terrorism as a major threat to security and stability.

Consequently, and against the relevance of these threats, CNI cooperation with foreign intelligence services became a priority with an even greater strategic weight. On the other hand, like all other state institutions, CISEN regime has moved toward accountability increasingly transparent, consistent with the democratic constitutional order in the country, and careful of the peculiarities of the field National Security.

As a result of this, the National Security Act establishing the terms of the responsibility of the Legislative, Judicial and Executive on Homeland Security, and the powers, scope, limits and mechanisms CNI control.[4]

Before taking office, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had been critical of CISEN's opacity in its operations and practices, which included telephone tapping on the political adversaries and ideological dissidents of the incumbent administrations. This prompted AMLO to release a number of non-sensitive dossiers kept by CISEN, as well as implementing changes to the agency itself, most notably its name to the present CNI in November 2018.[5] Although mostly regarded as a rebrand (keeping its faculties and internal structure intact),[6] one notable structural change was its placement under the control of the reinstated Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection, thus removing it from under the Secretariat of the Interior.[6][7]

In July 2021, López Obrador announced that all CISEN files would be declassified and made available for public examination.[8]

National Security Law

The National Security Act defines national security as the actions immediately and directly to maintain the integrity, stability and permanence of the Mexican state that lead to:

Heads of CISEN

Heads of CNI

See also


  1. ^ "PRESUPUESTO DE EGRESOS DE LA FEDERACIÓN 2019" (PDF). Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "CNI". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "Ley Orgánica de la Administración Pública Federal" [Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration]. Article 30bis, Organic federal law No. XVII of December 29, 1976 (PDF) (in Spanish).
  4. ^ a b [1] Archived May 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Mexico's Strategic Confusion". January 27, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Centro de Inteligencia opera con 99% de personal del Cisen". April 3, 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "La 4T y los servicios de inteligencia". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Becerril, Andrea; Poy, Laura (July 24, 2021). "Abrirá AMLO todos los archivos del Cisen". (in Spanish). La Jornada. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Martinez Zapata, Audomaro. "General de División DEM (Ret.) Audomaro Martínez Zapata Director General". User. Retrieved June 11, 2020.