Mexico's Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete has given a press conference to say he thought presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, who has accused the government of stalking him, already knew he was being tailed by the authorities.
The Wednesday announcement comes after National Action Party (PAN) candidate Anaya tweeted pictures and a video of agents from the National Center of Investigation and Security (CISEN) - Mexico's CIA - following him on the campaign trail between Veracruz and Mexico City.
Navarrete said he thought the PAN candidate knew that CISEN was in tow: "Anaya's campaign team knew what was happening because security at such a massive event (in Veracruz) is handled by the state."
Anaya and other presidential candidates were vying for support as the future head of state throughout Veracruz this week. Presidential elections are slated for July 1.
On Tuesday, Anaya posted a video of a Jeep following him to the Veracruz event on Feb. 11. The video shows the candidate pulling over and asking the Jeep driver if he's following him. The driver confirms he’s following Anaya on part of the CISEN, even giving his name.
He demanded an explanation from the government via Twitter, accusing the government of espionage. Anaya said he had been followed three times within five days.
Navarrete responded today that the CISEN followings "aren't clandestine or illegal… They are within protocol… for state security." Following the public activities of candidates, he said, "is part of CISEN's job.”
CISEN agents of Veracruz, said Navarrete, were mandated to monitor the highway between Puebla, Veracruz's capital, and Mexico City in official vehicles "without interacting with the candidate or his team."
"It's protocol to maintain coverage of activities that interest the state. This event was part of the election process, meaning that there's a systematic line of communication between (myself) and CISEN," Navarrete continued.
The secretary of the interior admitted that prior to Anaya's Feb. 13 tweets, he had no knowledge of the candidate's direct encounter with the CISEN agent on the Mexican highway. "There were some alleged irregularities," Navarrete concluded.
The interior secretary said that, at least for now, he is calling CISEN off.
Leftist candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador has also said CISEN followed him and his family in recent weeks, according to Animal Politico.
According to national polls, the two candidates are ahead of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Jose Antonio Meade, who current President Enrique Peña Nieto, also of the PRI, hopes will keep the ruling party in the executive office.