Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has called for the dissolution of her country’s central intelligence agency one week after the suspicious death of state prosecutor Alberto Nisman who was set to testify against her in court the following day.
“The plan is to dissolve the Intelligence Secretariat and create a Federal Intelligence Agency,” President Kirchner said on Monday. In her first public statements since Nisman’s death, Kirchner delivered a televised address saying she was drafting a bill to set up the new body. The soon-to-be defunct intelligence agency (SIDE: Servicio de Inteligencia del Estado which translates to Argentina State Intelligence Service) “obviously has not served the national interest,” Kirchner said during her speech. SIDE currently employs over 2,000 people.
Nisman was mysteriously found dead in his Buenos Aires home on January 18, mere hours before he was set to provide explosive testimony and evidence against senior government officials including Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman. Nisman indicated that they were covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 car bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA), which resulted in 85 deaths. The event was the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. Nisman had accused former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and key Iranian ministers of masterminding the AMIA attack.
Investigators had initially said Nisman’s death was a suicide, but it is strongly believed Nisman was murdered.
Just four days ago, Damien Pachter, the journalist who broke news of Nisman’s death, made the decision to flee to Israel for safety after revealing he was stalked and intimidated by members of his country’s soon-to-be dissolved intelligence agency. Kirchner’s government had reportedly also been sending out tweets falsifying information about Pachter.
In a possible move of retaliation against President Kirchner, Argentinian Intelligence could potentially leak information against her in the coming days. Kirchner had claimed in an online message last week that she believed Nisman was killed to embarrass her government and magnify the claims that have been made against her.
Calls have been made internationally for an investigation into Nisman’s perceived assassination. A special session to discuss the new proposal will take place on February 1.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter: @AdelleNaz.