الثلاثاء , يونيو 16 2020

Argentina votes on intelligence body

Argentine Congress, 19 Feb 2015

The lower house of Argentina’s Congress is due to vote on a bill to scrap the country’s intelligence agency.

It replaces the old Intelligence Secretariat with a federal agency that will be accountable to Congress.

The proposal was drafted last month by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, following the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

She accused a rogue agent of feeding misleading information to Mr Nisman, who was investigating the government.

The proposal, which has been voted by the senate, is expected to be approved.

The new agency should be set up within 90 days of the bill being signed into law by Ms Fernandez, who has a majority in both houses.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaking during a national simultaneous broadcastThe Argentine president said Mr Nisman’s death was part of a plot to discredit her

Alberto Nisman, 29 May 2013

Ms Fernandez said a reform of Argentina’s intelligence services was overdue. The agency has kept much of the same structure it had during the military government, which ended in 1983, she said.

Opposition congressman Manuel Garrido says the legislation will not prevent the new agency from committing serious irregularities.

“What worries us is that there has not been, nor will there be proper control,” he told the Reuters news agency.

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Argentina’s Intelligence Secretariat (SI, also known by its previous name Side)

  • Founded in 1946 by General Juan Peron as a civilian intelligence agency
  • Mission was to provide both internal and foreign intelligence
  • Evolved into a secret police force during Argentina’s Dirty War (1974-1983)
  • Used by military junta to track down opponents and spy on “subversives”, including trade union and other left-wing activists
  • Survived the transition to democracy in 1983
  • Critics allege SI has since been used to monitor the activities of critical journalists, politicians, judges and prosecutors
  • No official staffing figures available – but analysts believe it has grown in influence and size in the past decade
  • Led since December 2014 by Oscar Parrilli following the resignation of Hector Icazuriaga after 11 years

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Mr Nisman, who was 51, was found dead in his flat on 18 January with a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to testify in Congress.

He had been investigating the bombing of the Amia Jewish centre in the capital, Buenos Aires, in 1994 which left 85 people dead.

Mr Nisman had accused President Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of involvement in a plot to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing.

Ms Fernandez rejected the allegations and said a former secret agent had mislead the prosecutor in order to discredit her government.

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