Mexican officials have described the changes as a common-sense streamlining of U.S. intelligence sharing, and Peña Nieto said Thursday that the hope is to be more “efficient.”

But the decision has been met with worry in Washington, where some fear that cooperation will narrow and that the relationships and trust developed through on-the-ground joint crime fighting will fade if forced through more formal, bureaucratic channels.

“There was a sense that law enforcement agencies and individuals have developed rich relationships of collaboration, and that might be much more difficult, if not impossible to do, with these changes,” said Eric Olson, a Mexico expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

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