National Intelligence Centre
Centro Nacional de Inteligencia
Official Seal of the CNI
Agency overview
FormedDecember 1, 2018; 5 years ago (2018-12-01)
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; -99.236
EmployeesClassified (estimated around 3,600)
Annual budget2 813 446 355 pesos (2023)[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.

The CNI replaced the Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (CISEN) in December 2018 at the start of the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The CNI is the primary civilian intelligence service in Mexico.

Formally, the agency is charged with intelligence operations as they pertain to national security, which contribute to the preservation of the Mexican State's integrity, stability, and permanence.[3]


History of CISEN

CISEN was created on February 13, 1989, replacing the Dirección General de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (DGISN), which assumed its role following the dissolution of the Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) and the Dirección General de Investigaciones Políticas y Sociales (DGIPS). CISEN was the principal intelligence agency of the Secretariat of the Interior (Spanish: Secretaría de Gobernación, SEGOB). The agency was formally charged with generating strategic, tactical, and operative intelligence to ensure the integrity, stability, and permanence of the Mexican state. Article 19 of the National Security Act defined the scope and responsibilities of CISEN.[3] The 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas played a formative role in shaping the scope of the agency's objectives and lead to a significant increase in intelligence operations against all sectors of Mexican society.[4] From its inception, the agency received training and equipment from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.[4] CISEN acquired the Israeli spyware Pegasus during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto.[5] The spyware was used by the Peña Nieto administration to spy on journalists, human rights activists, and political opponents, including dozens of associates of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the run-up to his presidential election victory in 2018.[6] Then-Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong publicly denied CISEN's purchase of Pegasus;[7] however, in May 2020 the Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection (Spanish: Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudadana, SSPC) confirmed the acquisition of the spyware by CISEN.[8]

Before taking office in 2018, President López Obrador had been critical of CISEN's opacity in its operations and practices, which included wiretapping and surveillance of political adversaries and ideological dissidents.[9] This prompted López Obrador to dissolve CISEN and replace the agency with the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI). Although mostly regarded as a rebrand (CNI maintains the same faculties, internal structure, and the majority of CISEN personnel),[10] one notable structural change was its placement under the control of the reinstated Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection.[11] In July 2021, López Obrador announced that all CISEN files would be declassified and made available for public examination at the Archivo General de la Nación.[12]

History of CNI

The Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) was created on November 30, 2018, following reforms to the Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration.[13] The agency maintains the functions established for CISEN in Article 19 of the National Security Law.[3] Audomaro Martínez Zapata was named director of the CNI on December 1, 2018.

Directors of CISEN

Directors of CNI

See also


  1. ^ "PRESUPUESTO DE EGRESOS DE LA FEDERACIÓN 2023" (PDF). Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "CNI". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Ley de Seguridad Nacional, Artículo 19" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b Torres, Jorge (2009). Cisen: Auge y decadencia del espionaje mexicano. Debate Editorial. ISBN 978-607-429-635-8.
  5. ^ Digitales, R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos (July 23, 2021). "Lo que sabemos de las autoridades que adquirieron Pegasus en México". R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved May 16, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Patrucic, Pete Jones, Vyacheslav Abramov, and Miranda. "World Leaders on Pegasus List Include France's President Macron, Morocco's King Mohammed, Kazakhstan's President". OCCRP. Retrieved May 16, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "8260 - Asegura Osorio Chong que Secretaría de Gobernación y Cisen no adquirieron el programa espía Pegasus y dice que hay investigación abierta sobre ese caso / 27 / 10 Octubre / 2017 / Agencia de Noticias / Comunicación / Inicio - Camara de Diputados". Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  8. ^ Ciudadana, Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección. "Tarjeta Informativa". (in Spanish). Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  9. ^ "Por qué el servicio de inteligencia de México está de nuevo en el centro de una fuerte polémica (y qué se debe hacer para reformarlo)". BBC News Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  10. ^ "Centro de Inteligencia opera con 99% de personal del Cisen". April 3, 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "La 4T y los servicios de inteligencia". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Becerril, Andrea; Poy, Laura (July 24, 2021). "Abrirá AMLO todos los archivos del Cisen". (in Spanish). La Jornada. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  13. ^ "Senado aprueba en lo general reforma para crear SSP y superdelegados". Excélsior (in Spanish). November 23, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  14. ^ Martinez Zapata, Audomaro. "General de División DEM (Ret.) Audomaro Martínez Zapata Director General". User. Retrieved June 11, 2020.

Further reading