Thursday, March 30, 2023

ARGENTINA | 20-12-2019 13:35

Fernández taps Caamaño to lead overhaul of AFI intelligence agency

Cristina Caamaño looks set to leader the overhaul of much-criticised intelligence agency, which the new president painted as a threat to democracy during his inaugural speech to the nation.

President Alberto Fernández looks set to task Cristina Caamaño with leading the overhaul of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI).

Caamaño, an attorney who heads the Justicia Legítima ("Legitimate Justice") grouping, previously led a wire-tapping and intercepts unit under former attorney general Alejandro Gils Carbó.

Other names rumoured to be in the running for the post were former defence minister Nilda Garré and businessman José "Pepe" Albistur (the owner of the apartment that Fernández has rented for years in Puerto Madero).

Perfil also reported that ex-justice minister Alberto Iribarne was in the running for the post.

In his December 10 inauguration speech, Fernández announced plans to restructure the AFI and reallocate funds from the agency's unpublicised slush fund to finance his "Plan Against Hunger."

"Never again, the secret State. Never again, the cellars of democracy," he said in his first speech to the nation, repeatedly using the emotive phrase, 'Nunca más.'

The AFI was formerly known as the Secretary of the Intelligence of the State (SIDE), which earned a shadowy reputation for its espionage and counter intelligence work until it was dissolved in 2015 under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and reformed.

Today, much of the intelligence agency's work is unknown. Vritics say that it targets politicians and officials for political purposes, rather than working to protect the Argentine people. 

In addition to being president of Legitimate Justice, Caamaño led the Department of Interception and Capture of Communications (known as DICOM) in Gils Carbó office. There, Caamaño implemented various far-reaching methods, among which was permitting more streamlined wiretapping in cases where death or kidnapping were risks, Perfil reported.

She also previously served as the chief of the General Direction of Investigations and Technological Support of Penal Investigation (DATIP). Since 2006, she's served as undersecretary of the Cooperation with Judicial Powers, Public Ministries and Legislatures. 

Fernández has already made it clear that his government will lead an overhaul of the agency and "restructure the entire intelligence system and information strategy of the State." 

He'll first look at the agency's financing, which he said "aren't only to be left as reserves," adding them he wanted to "redirect them to fund the Plan Against Hunger." 



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