Cienfuegos Case Questions The Confidence Tests Of Army Generals

No high command, among more than 2,000 examined, has suspended the psychological, socioeconomic and polygraph tests that have been carried out for 13 years to detect corrupt military personnel or those who collude with crime.

In the Mexican Army no general has failed the confidence tests that the General Staff has applied to them 2242 brigadier generals as well as secretaries and undersecretaries of the Ministry of National Defense Sedena have been subjected in the last 13 years to psychological socioeconomic and polygraph tests All approved Even Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda arrested last week in the United Statesfor protecting a drug cartel

In an official document obtained by this newspaper via transparency with the results of the suitability tests of the Army chief in the previous sixyear term it is read that Cienfuegos covers the profile

A result that questions the reliability of some controls that are presented as a way to detect corrupt military personnel or in collusion with crime Experts in security issues agree on the weaknesses of the tests above all because they are carried out by an instance that is part of Sedena itself

The socalled confidence tests which use scientific and technological methods are similar to those applied to police officers in Mexico For the military they became mandatory since December 2004 but the Sedena began to record the results at the end of 2006

From that date and until December of last year 56675 personnel had been evaluated from the highest rank to the troop In the case of colonels lieutenants second lieutenants captains and majors three out of 10 failed

While in the lowest echelon made up of corporals soldiers and sergeants 413 were not reliable for their positions according to the Control and Confidence Unit the body in charge of safeguarding the results of these evaluations The years with the most failures were 2007 and 2008

The exams are not required for all members of the military According to the Sedena they are part of a rigorous process of selection and integral evaluation to which the personnel proposed to occupy a position or commission that requires it due to its importance or that is considered of responsibility is subjected

In addition to Cienfuegos these tests were also applied to Luis Cresencio Sandoval current Secretary of Defense Guillermo Galván Galván head of Sedena in Felipe Calderóns sixyear term 20062012 and nine other undersecretaries in the last three sixyear terms All passed them satisfactorily However in the response letter provided by the General Staff it is not specified how many times they would have been subjected to them and it is not clear on what date they were approved

The tests consist of a psychological test a socioeconomic study and a polygraph test The required standards are military with emotional stability and intellectual capacity with the ability to work under risky situations and adjust to the rules and discipline

A soldier obtains a failing result if for example in the psychological test he shows conflicts with authority figures or shows a low tolerance for frustration that does not allow him to control his impulses aggressiveness or frustration It is also a reason for rejection if in the socioeconomic area it presents social family or health problems or if on the polygraph he admits to having carried out antisocial behavior or tells lies

Exam questions and answers are confidential but not the meaning of failure Sedena must inform if they approve or fail If someone does not cover the profile they are not separated from the National Defense You are simply not promoted or moved to the position to which you were proposed

An untouchable military leadership
In the Sedena the military leadership has historically been untouchable Only two generals have appeared in the sanctions imposed by the internal control body for serious administrative misconduct in the last ten years Most of the reprimands have been against low and middleranking military personnel

The best known cases are those of Manuel de Jesús Moreno Aviña and Juan Manuel Barragán Espinoza generals who were disqualified after receiving judicial punishment and are currently serving their sentence in prison Both had reached the highest ranks within the military ladder and for this they had to have passed the suitability tests It is not known how many times they were subjected to this scrutiny but what is certain is that no warning signs were detected that would slow down their rising career

Moreno Aviña Brigadier General was charged with torture murder and burial The case was known to the media because he was pointed out to lead the socalled death squad a group made up of soldiers and officers from the third infantry company of Ojinaga Chihuahua which during the government of Felipe Calderón and within the framework of the They tortured and murdered civilians and carried out a series of illegal arrests

In addition to the sentence of more than 50 years in prison issued by a federal court in 2016 the general was also disqualified for 15 years according to the registry of sanctioned public servants

Barragán Espinoza Brigadier General was sentenced to 15 years in prison for organized crime on August 15 2016 In the sentence issued by a federal court he was noted as being in collusion and having received money from the Sinaloa Cartel during Felipes administration

Calderón In the investigation he was accused of providing protection for the performance of his illegal activities by recruiting public servants who wanted to work for the criminal group The high command also helped them gain access to the integrated files against the cartel members who were detained and informed them about the plans of the Attorney Generals Office PGR to locate and arrest their various leaders according to the sentence consulted

Discretionary exams
The arrest of Cienfuegos Zepeda on October 16 at the airport in Los Angeles California shook the Mexican political class and has left a trail of questions Several security analysts have questioned how it is possible that the highestranking general could have been an accessory to a drug cartel without being discovered by the Mexican authorities

If it were true the accusations in the US those who would have failed would not be the tests of control and trust but the PGR and the law enforcement authorities in Nayarit where they are being linked says Lilian Chapa Koloffon Security Policy Analyst for The World Justice Project for Mexico

Although in Mexico the tests of control and trust have been seen as a solution to the problem of infiltration of corporations by organized crime they cannot provide conclusive evidence of the involvement of someone in illegal activities explains the researcher

It is impossible for that test to tell you who is lying and who is telling the truth What it measures are physiological reactions to certain types of questions There is no way to check if what he said is true or false abounds Of the three tests that have been given more importance is the polygraph as if it were to reveal something solid he mentions when the one that should have more weight is the socioeconomic one because in this one can measure the patrimonial evolution of the server public and could detect inconsistencies

The tests are not infallible and have a certain margin of error says Óscar Máynez Grijalva an expert in criminology Furthermore their independence is not fully guaranteed as they are carried out by a body that depends on the Sedena itself which becomes judge and party Obviously it would be convenient for an external institution to carry out these evaluations but in Mexico since the 1940s there was an agreement between the Army and the government so that the latter would not interfere in their affairs he recalls

The same discretion of the Army by not allowing civilian interference in its affairs also makes it difficult for other institutions to participate in the surveillance and detection of anomalies says the academic who served as head of Expert Services in the Chihuahua Prosecutors Office The Army is completely independent nobody messes with them So there can be no collaboration with other bodies such as the FIU Financial Intelligence Unit the National Banking Commission or another authority such as the Civil Service that could help detect anomalies in their assets he explains

The fact that Cienfuegos has passed these tests is due to the fact that it previously passed each of the filters and showed certain capacities to ascend to the next rank However Máynez Grijalva warns that these tests can also be manipulated precisely to guarantee impunity for the high command In the polygraph there are ways to cheat and give a false positive or false negative

You can train people Those of personality are not necessarily going to throw an element saying this type can be corrupted and if there is pressure on the part of the specialists they can give the results they want There are others that measure degrees of sociopathy psychopathy but those are not very sophisticated either you can also tell a person what to answer so that they can pass them he explains

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *