NEW YORK - Fresh American diplomatic cables released via Wikileaks suggest that the US drug control agency has grown into a global intelligence organisation whose reach extends far beyond narcotics. The New York Times, which is publishing the leaked cables, reported Sunday the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operations had become so expansive the agency has had to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies. The cables show that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli had sent an urgent BlackBerry message to the US ambassador asking the DEA go after his political enemies. I need help with tapping phones, the Times quoted the president as saying. The then US Ambassador to Panama, Barbara Stephenson, says: He made reference to various groups and individuals whom he believes should be wiretapped, and he clearly made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies. The Panamanian presidents office has issued a statement saying the government regrets the misunderstanding by the US authorities. The request for assistance was made for the struggle against crime, drug trafficking and organised crime. We never asked for help to tap telephones of politicians. Any interpretation to such a request is completely wrong, it says. In a cable from February 2010, the DEA tries to resist a request by the government in Asuncion to spy on the Paraguayan Peoples Army insurgent group, accused of a number of kidnappings. The New York Times says that when US diplomats baulked, Paraguay Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola threatened to shut the service down. Diplomats finally agreed to allow wiretapping for anti-kidnapping work under certain circumstances. We have carefully navigated this very sensitive and politically sticky situation. It appears that we have no other viable choice, a cable says. The Times says the DEA has 87 offices in 63 countries and that many governments are eager to take advantage of the advanced wiretapping technology the agency uses. DEA spokesman Lawrence Payne said on Saturday it could not comment as the cables were considered classified. In another cable from October 2009, Mexican Defence Secretary Gen Guillermo Galvan is quoted as saying he does not trust other Mexican law enforcement agencies in anti-drugs work because of leaks and corruption. A number of cables reveal the extent of the involvement of senior officials in the drug trade in some countries. In one cable dated March 2008, US diplomats in Guinea report that a supposed incineration of drugs was faked. The cable says: The event was a real eye-opener and a facade. The incineration was a ridiculous attempt by the [government of Guinea] to prove that a law enforcement campaign against narcotics exists. Like many of the cables made public in recent weeks, those describing the drug war do not offer large disclosures. Rather, it is the details that add up to a clearer picture of the corrupting influence of big traffickers, the tricky game of figuring out which foreign officials are actually controlled by drug lords, and the story of how an entrepreneurial agency operating in the shadows of the FBI has become something more than a drug agency. The DEA now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the Central Intelligence Agency at arms length.