Search

 

Cablegate: Argentina: Fbi's Deputy Director Pistole Discusses

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0759/01 1551727
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 031727Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1231
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T BUENOS AIRES 000759

SIPDIS

WHA/BSC FOR DRUCKER, FRIEDMAN, AND SHOWELL
NEA/IR FOR HWOOSTER
S/CT FOR VIRGINIA PALMER AND ARNOLD SIERRA
NSC FOR JUAN ZARATE
FBI FOR DD PISTOLE AND OIO AD TOM FUENTES AND AMERICAS UNIT
DOJ FOR DAG BRUCE SWARTZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/03/2018
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV KJUS SNAR KCRM ASEC AR FBI
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: FBI'S DEPUTY DIRECTOR PISTOLE DISCUSSES
COOPERATION WITH SENIOR OFFICIALS

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 00746
B. BUENOS AIRES 00702

Classified By: Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (SBU) Summary: During his May 21-22 visit to Argentina,
FBI Deputy Director John Pistole met with senior officials of
the Argentine government, the Argentine Jewish community, and
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (ref A) to discuss
U.S.-Argentine security cooperation. Those leaders thanked
Pistole for the USG's behind-the-scenes support in ensuring a
positive outcome on the Marrakech vote to issue arrest
warrants for suspects involved in the 1994 AMIA bombing.
Justice Minister Anibal Fernandez updated Pistole on GOA
efforts to combat trafficking in persons and his commitment
to implement the new federal law. President CFK assured the
USG of her continued support for international collaboration
against terrorism (ref A). Press coverage of the visit was
generally favorable and contributed to a GOA and public
perception that the USG-GOA relationship is on course and
improving. End Summary.

---------
The Visit
---------

2. (C) FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole met May 21-22 with
senior officials of the Argentine government, including
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner; Secretary of
Intelligence Hector Icazuriaga and Deputy Secretary Francisco
Larcher; Minister of Justice and Security Anibal Fernandez;
Chief of Federal Police Nestor Vallecca; senior federal and
provincial judicial and police officials; and visited with
Jewish leaders at the site of the 1994 terrorist bombing of
the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA). Media
coverage of the visit was generally favorable, signaling
positive steps in the bilateral relations between the two
countries.

--------------------------------
Ministry of Justice and Security
--------------------------------

3. (U) On May 21, Ambassador Wayne hosted a lunch for FBI
Deputy Director John Pistole and Argentine Justice and
Security Minister Anibal Fernandez. DCM and FBI Legat also
attended.

4. (SBU) The Ambassador started the meeting by congratulating
Minister Fernandez on recent drug seizures and arrests in the
north of Argentina. The Minister stated that operation was
successful and important because of the level of traffickers
arrested in addition to the 500 kilos of marijuana seized.
The Ambassador mentioned $600,000 funding available to
Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina for combating narcotics
trafficking, and asked if the Minister had received a letter
from his Bolivian counterpart regarding these funds. The
Minister said he had not received any such letter.

5. (C) Minister Fernandez responded to a question about the
new money laundering law by saying he was working diligently
on implementing the new law and personally guaranteed that
the law will effectively address narcotics money laundering
and terrorism financing. He acknowledged the Tri-border area
(TBA) of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay as a source of
terrorism financing, but stated the GOA needs specific
information to act. The Minister stated the GOA must
prosecute narcotics trafficking because it also finances
terrorism, but noted that terrorism is also financing by
legitimate activities.

6. (SBU) DD Pistole inquired how the FBI could assis the
GOA with its crime problem and the Minister responded that
Argentina's crime rates and specifically homicides rates were
significantly less than neighboring countries, as well as the
United States. However, the Minister stopped publishing
national crime statistics, he said, because most of the
statistics provided by the provinces were false.

7. (SBU) Minister Fernandez noted that Argentina's
trafficking in persons (TIP) law was only ten days old, but
already six or seven important TIP investigations were
underway. He recently denounced in the press a judge who
released a man who consorted with a 17-year old girl
prostituted by an organized ring in Barrio Flores in Buenos
Aires City. He speculated that the Argentine Federal Police
(PFA) and judge knew of the prostitution ring's operations
and failed to act, and he felt personally embarrassed by this
unacceptable situation. Minister Fernandez said that, in the
past, police corruption was covered-up to preserve the
reputation and image of the PFA, but not under his
administration. He said corruption by local police was a
really serious problem in the Northwestern provinces of
Argentina in dealing with trafficking rings. The Ambassador
cited police corruption problems encountered by the Argentine
group Mothers Against Paco (crack cocaine).

8. (U) The Minister stated that the majority of the
prostitution cases involve girls from Paraguay. He commended
Paraguayan President-elect Logo's recent announcement to
place his sister in charge of Paraguay's anti-TIP efforts and
opined that the designation indicated a serious commitment to
address Paraguay's TIP problems. He emphasized the
importance addressing the social consequences of TIP and
providing support to victims. He described the June 11-12
conference he was organizing to inform prosecutors and judges
what the new federal anti-trafficking law and expressed
appreciation for the U.S. experts who will participate.

9. (U) The Ambassador inquired about the status of judicial
reform and the new code of federal criminal procedure
proposed by the previous Minister of Justice. The Minister
responded that he is working on improving the efficiency of
the judicial system, and noted that in the United States
accused persons go to trial in eight to nine months, but in
Argentina persons arrested today would not go to trial before
2010. He said introducing a judicial reform bill is a
priority.

10. (U) DD Pistole noted the international threat posed by
cyber crimes, especially organized computer attacks against
national infrastructure. Minister Fernandez said the GOA is
serious in combating Internet child pornography. DD Pistole
offered training at the FBI's Innocent Images center in
Calverton, Maryland. The Minister expressed strong interest,
and said the GOA would put such training to good use.

11. (U) The Minister mentioned ongoing social conflicts in
Argentina and expressed the need to improve the distribution
of wealth. He noted that in 1985 the upper 10% of Argentine
society earned 10 times more than the bottom 10%, but now
(2005) the upper 10% earn 38 times more than the bottom 10%.

12. (S) DD Pistole commended the Minister for the GOA's
successful efforts to reinstate the AMIA Red Notices.
Minister Fernandez expressed his gratitude for the assistance
provided to the GoA's AMIA investigation by FBI Assistant
Director Tom Fuentes and the Legat. He stated that AMIA is a
very important and sensitive matter for the GOA. Interpol's
decision to issue new AMIA Red Notices was very important to
his government. (Fernandez made no mention that an arrest
warrant would be filed the following day for ex-president
Carlos Menem and others for allegedly participating in a
cover-up of an ""Argentine connection"" to the AMIA attack --
ref B.)

13. (C) DD Pistole expressed USG concerns that Hizballah will
retaliate against Israeli targets abroad for the assignation
of Hizballah leader Imad Mughniyah. The Minister noted that
the GOA was concerned and alert, especially given the 1992
and 1994 Hizballah bombings in Buenos Aires. He opined that
former President Menem's inconsistent foreign policy towards
the Middle East made Argentina more vulnerable to terrorist
attacks, while the more consistent policies of the Kirchners
made Argentina less vulnerable. Specifically he said Menem
maintained good relations with too many Middle East figures
connected at least indirectly to terrorism. Minister
Fernandez explained that President Kirchner's relationship

with Venezuelan President Chavez who has close relations with
Iran should not be confused with the Kirchners' policies
regarding Iran, and he cited the Kirchners' decision to not
meet with the Iranian president.

--------------------
Federal Police Chief
--------------------

14. (U) Federal Police Chief Nestor Vallecca reviewed his
participation in the INTERPOL General Assembly meeting at
Marrakech and praised the FBI's behind-the-scenes support and
counsel by FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, a member of
INTERPOL's Executive Committee. Vallecca noted that he and
his INTERPOL chief learned a great deal in the process,
especially diplomacy. In discussing crime issues, Vallecca
complained that while Argentina has banking regulations and
money laundering/terrorism financing laws, banks are not
reporting suspicious activity reports (SAR) to the Unidad de
Informacion Financiera - UIF (Argentina's version of FinCEN).
Vallecca noted that the majority of cases at the UIF are
initiated by police investigations, and that while UIF
analysts and prosecutors are dedicated professionals, he
feels vigorous prosecutions are lacking. Regarding
trafficking in persons (TIP), Vallecca admitted it is an
evolving problem that his agency recently received
jurisdiction to investigate. The AFP chief acknowledged that
his agency has much to learn regarding the issue, and
welcomes any training and assistance from the FBI in
dismantling organized trafficking in persons. The AFP chief
pledged his commitment to working with the FBI and the USG on
issues of interest and concern to both countries.

--------------------------------------------- -----

Federal, provincial and city officials share their
concerns
--------------------------------------------- -----

15. (U) Senior justice and law enforcement officials from
the federal government, provinces of Buenos Aires and
Cordoba, and the City of Buenos Aires discussed their special
interests in crime issues at a reception hosted by the
Ambassador in honor of DD Pistole's visit and the FBI 100th
anniversary. Provincial prosecutors and judges expressed
keen interest in improving their knowledge and skill in
pursuing TIP cases. The prosecutor generals of Cordoba and
Buenos Aires province are working with the GOA to develop TIP
protocols and are looking to the USG for assistance.
Cordoba's AG, Dario Vezzaro, is himself hosting a TIP
conference and requested USG participation. Both the FBI and
the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE)
pledged to participate with subject matter experts. The
officials expressed their appreciation for the USG's
assistance in training police officers and prosecutors over
the years and welcomed our continued support.

----
AMIA
----

16. (U) In his visit to the rebuilt site of the
Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building, DD
Pistole laid a wreath in memory of the victims of the
terrorist attack that killed 85 persons. Leaders of AMIA and
the co-located Delegation of Argentine-Israeli Associations
(DAIA) welcomed the visit and thanked DD Pistole for the
USG's unwavering support and technical assistance by the FBI
in this case. AMIA president Luis Grynwald noted that 2007
was an important year for the organization with the victory
over the INTERPOL red notices and former president Argentine
President Nestor Kirchner's speech at the UN General
Assembly. AMIA and DAIA leaders voiced their concerns once
again over what they characterized as a growing Iranian
presence in Latin America and reiterated a call for INTERPOL
member nations to detain the Iranian officials pursuant to
Red Notices authorized by Interpol's General Assembly in
Marrakech. Jewish leaders noted that they share a common
bond with the United States in that both are principal

targets of Islamic extremists anywhere in the world and
should therefore resolve to work together to deter the
threat. Also of great concern to Jewish leaders is
Hizballah's growing influence within the impoverished areas
of many countries, especially in Latin America, which is
fertile ground for recruitment and radicalization.

17. (C) During the Ambassador's reception, Ambassador
Guillermo Gonzalez, MFA's point man in the AMIA case,
expressed his utmost appreciation to DD Pistole for the FBI's
role in helping the GOA secure approval for the INTERPOL Red
Notices. Ambassador Gonzalez specifically commended FBI
Assistant Director Tom Fuentes' invaluable insights and
influence at the organization's Executive Committee and
General Assembly, noting the FBI's respected status (and that
of AD Fuentes) helped influence other EC delegates to focus
on the facts of the case.

-------
Comment
-------

18. (SBU) The Pistole visit was another excellent opportunity
for USG to showcase its longstanding commitment to bilateral
cooperation on issues of mutual concern. The visit received
positive media coverage which showcased the mutual benefits
of our close cooperation on sensitive issues, a lesson that
is always worth repeating here.
WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: