Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Argentina ex-president Macri accused of spying on 400 journalists

Argentina’s Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) has called for an investigation into former president Mauricio Macri for allegedly spying on more than 400 journalists, a source told AFP on Sunday.

Dozens of foreign journalists, including several representing AFP, appeared on a list of people to be investigated in relation to the G20 and World Trade Organisation (WTO) summits held in Buenos Aires in recent years.

“The complaint was lodged on Friday and tomorrow [Monday] all the evidence will be presented,” the official source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Around 100 academics, businesspeople and prominent figures from civil society also appeared on the list.

The documents relating to the case were found in three dossiers named “2017”, “G20 Journalists” and “Miscellaneous”, in a safe in the office of the AFI’s former director of counterintelligence.

Buenos Aires hosted the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in 2017 and the 13th G20 Summit a year later.

“The investigation into the journalists was straightforward. They dug up information from social media and that way built an ideological and political profile,” said the source.

The complaint was lodged by Cristina Caamano, who has been tasked by center-left President Alberto Fernandez to carry out an audit of AFI as part of a reorganization process.

According to the complaint, the profile information included “political preferences, social media posts, sympathy for feminist groups, or political and/or cultural content among others.”

The comments included whether or not “they were critical of the current government” of Macri, who held office from 2015-2019.

Other comments referred to “showing affinity for Peronism,” Fernandez’s political movement that was in opposition at the time, “supporting the government,” “asking on Facebook for the liberation of Lula,” the jailed leftist former Brazilian president who has since been released, or if they “signed a petition for legalized abortion.”

Each profile was marked in either green, yellow or red, supposedly an indication aimed at assisting the foreign affairs ministry in the accreditation processes for the WTO and G20 events.

‘Inadmissible’

Caamano has asked for an investigation to be opened against Gustavo Arribas, the former AFI director, and his deputy Silvina Majdalani, as well as Macri as the person “responsible for setting strategic guidelines and the objectives of national intelligence policy.”

The complaint states that the background checks on journalists were “neither ordered nor authorised by any magistrate.”

The foreign correspondents association hit out at Macri for the “inadmissible” investigations, while two Argentine press unions also blasted the former administration.

The dossier relating to the WTO conference was more exhaustive and included information on businesspeople, trade unionists and social leaders, listing personal details such as salaries and wealth.

It’s not the first time Macri has been investigated for alleged spying.

He is currently under investigation for spying during his presidency on political allies and opponents, including former president Cristina Kirchner and Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta.

He was prosecuted for spying while mayor of Buenos Aires, a post he held from 2007-2015, but that case was dismissed two weeks after he assumed the presidency.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse works from worldwide. AFP Photo's official Twitter account. Tweeting news and features from Agence France-Presse's global photo network Agence France Presse has over 120540 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Mbeki: Social compact the answer to promises made in ANC...

Former president Thabo Mbeki rged business and government and society to work together to tackle issues such as poverty, unemployment and poor services and infrastructure

South Africa needs to make pension system more inclusive, study...

South Africa’s pension system is ranked 31st out of 43 countries, receiving a C-grade which indicates major risks and shortcomings that should be addressed

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×