Argentina to Disband Intelligence Agency

Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, announces plans to disband intelligence agency amid mysterious death of prosecutor.

Ben Ariel ,

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, announced on Monday night that she plans to disband Argentina's intelligence agency, in the wake of the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman last week.

Speaking in a televised address and quoted by the BBC, Kirchner said she would draft a bill to set up a new body to replace the current intelligence agency, adding that intelligence services had kept much of the same structure they had during the military government, which ended in 1983.

Nisman’s death came hours before he had been due to testify against senior government officials on the subject of the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, which left 85 people dead.

Nisman, 51, had accused several senior government figures - including Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman - of involvement in a plot to cover up Iran's alleged role in the bombing.

His death has set off a huge scandal, with Kirchner suggesting Nisman was manipulated by former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.

"I have prepared a bill to reform the intelligence service," she said Monday, according to the BBC, adding that she wanted the proposal to be discussed at an urgent session of Congress.

"The plan is to dissolve the Intelligence Secretariat and create a Federal Intelligence Agency," she added, noting that a new leadership should be chosen by a president but would be subject to a Senate approval.

"Combating impunity has been a priority of my government," she added.

Public anger over the official reaction to Nisman's death - which officials initially attempted to dismiss as suicide - prompted the Argentine government to back a probe into his death.

In 2013, Kirchner signed a memorandum of understanding with Tehran agreeing to set up a "truth commission" to investigate the bombing and allowing Argentine prosecutors to question the suspects in Iran.

The rapprochement was vehemently opposed at the time by Jewish community leaders, who charged it was "unconstitutional."