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Ex-Argentine Spy Boss Wanted for Questioning in Prosecutor's Death

A reporter holds a picture of Antonio "Jaime" Stiusso, one of the country's most enigmatic spy chiefs, outside the prosecutor's office in Buenos Aires, Feb. 5, 2015.

Argentine investigators want to grill a former spy chief over the death of a state prosecutor who alleged the country's president tried to thwart his investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.

Oscar Parrilli, head of the Intelligence Secretariat, known as SI, said ex-counterintelligence boss Antonio Stiusso would be allowed to divulge agency secrets so investigators could question him fully about events leading up to Alberto Nisman's death.

FILE - Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in his office in Buenos Aires, May 29, 2013.
FILE - Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in his office in Buenos Aires, May 29, 2013.

Nisman was found dead in his apartment on Jan. 18, a day before he was due to testify about his claim that President Cristina Fernandez tried to whitewash his findings that Iran was behind the Jewish center attack in Buenos Aires in order to win economic favors from Tehran.

“We are going to waive the obligation that Stiusso keep secret his activities in the secretariat,” Parrilli told reporters. “The president wants the whole truth to be known.”

Iran has vigorously denied involvement in the bombing and Fernandez has dismissed Nisman's findings as absurd. She said Nisman was duped by rogue agents involved in a power struggle at the Argentine spy agency, and killed when he was no longer of value to them.

One of those spies was Stiusso, Fernandez has said. Fired during a December shake-up of the SI, which he joined in 1972, Stiusso had helped Nisman with his investigation of the bombing that killed 85 people.

For years, Stiusso had been one of the most powerful and feared men in the SI. The agency played an important role in the military government's “dirty war” against suspected Marxist rebels, union leaders and other leftists in the 1970s.

Since democracy was restored in 1983, successive governments are widely believed to have continued to use the agency to snoop on opponents.

Lead case investigator Viviana Fein sought to summon Stiusso for questioning on Thursday morning but officials said he was not present at any of his listed addresses and his whereabouts were unknown.

It remains unclear whether Nisman killed himself or was murdered. Conspiracy theories abound, with some pointing directly at the president.

No arrests have been made since Fernandez's remark two weeks ago that renegade spies were behind the prosecutor's death.