Actor Sean Penn said Monday he has "nothin' to hide" about his clandestine visit to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, dismissing criticism over his interview with the fugitive who was captured Friday.
In a brief email exchange with The Associated Press, Penn was asked about images published by local news media that indicate Mexican authorities were closely monitoring him and actress Kate del Castillo ahead of their October visit with Guzman.
"I've got nothin' to hide," he wrote.
Penn shrugged off a suggestion that he was "taking hits" for agreeing to submit the story to Guzman prior to publication of the story by Rolling Stone magazine.
"No, you're reading hits," he said.
There are quite a few envious journalists, the AP reporter commented.
"True dat," Penn replied.
Guzman was captured last week, more than three months after meeting Penn on Oct. 2 meeting and six months after escaping from prison.
Penn did not respond directly to questions on whether it was appropriate for him to submit his story to Guzman for approval in advance of publication, though he said in the Rolling Stone article that Guzman requested no changes.
Mexican officials have said that Guzman's contacts with Penn and del Castillo helped them track down the fugitive and they raided his hideout a few days after they met. Guzman evaded authorities then, but was finally captured Friday in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa.
Penn wrote in the article of elaborate security precautions, including switching phones. But as he flew to Mexico for the meeting, he wrote "I see no spying eyes, but I assume they are there."
He may not have known how close those eyes were. They were apparently already following del Castillo based on contacts with Guzman lawyers.
The Mexican newspaper El Universal published 10 photographs Monday that appeared to show Penn being monitored as he arrived in Mexico.