Argentina creates new spy agency after death of prosecutor
Argentina`s congress passed early Thursday a bill creating a new intelligence service after the mysterious death of a prosecutor probing the president over a possible cover up of a terrorist bombing in 1994 targeting Jews.
Buenos Aires: Argentina`s congress passed early Thursday a bill creating a new intelligence service after the mysterious death of a prosecutor probing the president over a possible cover up of a terrorist bombing in 1994 targeting Jews.
By a vote of 131 to 71, the Chamber of Deputies passed the bill presented by President Cristina Kirchner.
It dissolves the Secretariat of Intelligence and replaces it with a body called the Federal Intelligence Agency.
Kirchner sent the bill to the chamber, which is controlled by her party, last month after the death of Alberto Nisman, found dead January 18 in his apartment with a gunshot to the head.
At the time of his death Nisman was investigating the long-unsolved bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, which killed 85 people and wounded 300.
He had filed a report accusing Iran of ordering the attack via Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and alleging that Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman were trying to shield Iranian officials from prosecution to protect oil contracts.
Since his death, initially labelled a suicide, suspicion has fallen on Kirchner`s government of orchestrating Nisman`s murder.
The Argentine intelligence services had already been ensnared in a scandal involving wiretaps carried out to exact extortion against judges, prosecutors and other powerful figures.
Opposition parties have been demanding a reform of the spy agency. But Kirchner`s critics say the move is a way to shift attention away from the Nisman case.
One of the changes in the new bill puts the power to order wiretaps under tighter government control so agents have less leeway to carry them out.
The parliamentary session began with a minute of silence in memory of Nisman.
After Nisman raised suspicions about the president, the government in turn shined the spotlight on a former veteran agent named Antonio `Jaime` Stiuso, who was a close collaborator of Nisman.
Kirchner has accused Stiuso of feeding false information to Nisman. Stiuso had been fired from his job in December.
On Tuesday the government accused him of running a smuggling ring and committing tax fraud.