April 24, 2008
Whether he was up to no good or simply desperate to play BrickBreaker, a
Mexican press attach 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."
FOX News' James Rosen and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.
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