– U.S. hasn’t responded to requests for help in locating ex-spy wanted for questioning in 1994 bombing of Jewish center, says Argentina
By Charles Newbery
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina warned Wednesday its relations with the U.S. could sour if Washington fails to answer requests for the location of a former Argentine spy suspected to be on American soil.
Argentina wants one of its most notorious former spies, Horacio Antonio Stiuso, for questioning in an investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, the deadliest terrorist attack on the country.
Stiuso, known also as Jaime, is also wanted for questioning on the mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, the lead prosecutor in the bombing case who was found shot dead in January.
Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez said Stiuso has not responded to requests to appear before Argentine authorities, a legal requirement for all former intelligence agents.
He said during a televised press conference that Stiuso is thought to be in the U.S. on a six-month tourist visa.
Stiuso’s failure to appear led the Argentine government and intelligence agency to seek U.S. assistance in locating him, Fernandez said.
He said eight requests have been made to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires as well as State Department.
“The response from the United States was zero,” Fernandez said.
“Is the United States willing to jeopardize bilateral relations with Argentina for this man?” he said. “And if so, how important is this man to put at risk the bilateral relations with Argentina?”
Stiuso had worked directly with Nisman on investigating the 1994 bombing that killed 85 victims, including the possibility that Iran planted the bomb.
He was fired in December, however, after the President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner replace the two heads of the Intelligence Agency, bringing in one of her closest confidants, Oscar Parrilli, to run the operation.
Fernandez de Kirchner has suggested that rouge spies — or those purged from the agency like Stiuso — could have been behind Nisman’s death in a plot to harm the government in the run up to the Oct. 25 presidential election.
Four days before his death, Nisman said he’d found what he believed to be evidence that the president and other officials were working to whitewash Iran’s alleged involvement in the bombing in order to improve commercial ties with Tehran.