Argentine president backing measure to disband intelligence agency

Gabe Friedman

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said she supports a bill to dissolve the country’s main intelligence agency, which she accused of conspiring against her government.

In a televised address on Monday, her first since the body of AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found in his apartment on Jan. 18, Kirchner said that the agency known as SIDE has been undermining the joint efforts by Argentina and Iran to investigate the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.


The two countries signed an agreement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2013 to form an independent commission to investigate the attack. Jewish groups joined Israel and the United States, among others, in slamming the agreement.

Kirchner, sitting in a wheelchair in the wake of an accident that injured her ankle, said she plans to create a new federal intelligence agency that would work more closely with the attorney general’s office. In the current system, many members of the Argentine congress, including from the opposition party, have access to intelligence agency leaders.

Last week, Kirchner said that Nisman’s death was not a suicide, as she indicated originally, but rather a deliberate “operation against the government.” Nisman’s body was found hours before a closed-door meeting with congressional lawmakers in which he was expected to reveal details of his allegations against Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, for their alleged cover-up of Iran’s role in the bombing.

On Tuesday, Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed solidarity with Kirchner, calling Nisman’s death an “ambush” against her.

The U.S. State Department has expressed its hope for an “impartial” investigation into the incident.

“Judicial authorities are investigating his death, and we call for a complete and impartial investigation,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.