Argentine Cabinet chief: Ex-Spy Chief In U.S. Hurts Relations | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Argentine Cabinet chief: Ex-Spy Chief In U.S. Hurts Relations

Posted: Oct 1, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Argentina’s Cabinet chief suggested Wednesday that the United States was putting at risk its relationship with the South American nation by not divulging the whereabouts of a former spy agency boss reportedly in America.

Anibal Fernandez said that Argentina had received no response from eight requests sent to U.S. Justice Department officials seeking information about Antonio Stiuso, a former operations chief in the intelligence agency formally known as the Secretary of State Information.

“Is the United States willing to allow a degradation that would put at risk its relationship with Argentina for a man who, according to what everybody says, has no strategic importance to the United States?” Fernandez told reporters.

An email sent to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires seeking comment was not immediately answered.

Stiuso had assisted prosecutor Alberto Nisman in his investigation of the unsolved bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994 that killed 85. Nisman was found shot dead in his apartment in January, just days after accusing President Cristina Fernandez of orchestrating a cover-up of the alleged roles of several Iranians in the bombing, the country’s worst terrorist attack.

Fernandez has strongly denied Nisman’s accusations, and a federal judge threw out the case.

In speeches and in letters posted on social media, she has repeatedly suggested that Stiuso could be behind Nisman’s death, but never provided details.

Nisman’s death has not been solved. The lead investigator in the case has said he is still trying to determine whether Nisman was killed or committed suicide, a possibility that former aides and family reject.

The whereabouts of Stiuso, who reportedly oversaw a vast wiretapping operation until he was removed in December, are unclear.

For months, media reports have said he is in Miami. In April, Stiuso’s lawyer, Santiago Blanco Bermudez, told The Associated Press that his client had fled Argentina for fear of his safety, but declined to say where he had gone.

Blanco Bermudez said the accusations were baseless and the government was scapegoating Stiuso. A call Wednesday to Blanco Bermudez was not immediately returned.

Stiuso has not been formally accused in Nisman’s death, but rather has been called to testify and has not shown up.