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| | Mexican Embassy: Official Fired After Getting Caught With White House BlackBerries
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Mexican Embassy: Official Fired After Getting Caught With White House BlackBerries
Thursday , April 24, 2008
Whether he was up to no good or simply desperate to play BrickBreaker, a Mexican press attaché was caught on camera pocketing several White House BlackBerries during a recent meeting in New Orleans and has since been fired, FOX News has learned.
Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, Rafael Quintero Curiel, served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation and was responsible for handling logistics and guiding the Mexican media around at the conference.
Mexican Embassy spokesman Ricardo Alday said Thursday he was asked to tender his resignation once he arrived back in Mexico City.
"Mr. Quintero will be responsible for explaining his actions to the American authorities conducting an investigation. The Mexican Government deeply regrets this incident," he said.
Quintero Curiel took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush earlier this week.
Everyone entering the room was required to leave his or her cell phone, BlackBerry and other such devices on the table, a common practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.
It didn't take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing Quintero Curiel absconding with the BlackBerries.
Sources said Quintero Curiel made it all the way to the airport before Secret Service officers caught up with him. He initially denied taking the devices, but after agents showed him the DVD, Quintero Curiel said it was purely accidental, gave them back, claimed diplomatic immunity and left New Orleans with the Mexican delegation.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino refused to discuss the incident, telling FOX News, "We are aware of the situation, but as it's under investigation by law enforcement officials, we will decline to comment."