McCaul, Duncan Question Government of Argentina Blocking Witness from Testifying on Iranian Presence in South America

Jul 8, 2013 Issues: Counterterrorism

Washington, D.C. –  U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency Chairman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner expressing deep concern over the Government of Argentina’s decision to deny Mr. Alberto Nisman, General Prosecutor of the AMIA Case, the opportunity to testify tomorrow regarding Iran’s influence in South America. The Chairmen also requested that Argentina reconsider its decision. The letter to President Fernández de Kirchner is available HERE, and the letter from Alberto Nisman to Chairman Michael McCaul is available HERE.

Chairman McCaul on the letter: “Alberto Nisman’s report sheds critical light on how the United States should understand threats to our homeland that emanate from the Iranian regime. His investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires shows that the Iranian presence in the Western Hemisphere is greater than we imagined. Iranian infiltration within countries in our region presents a clear and present danger to our homeland, as do attempts to silence or downplay this threat, and Mr. Nisman’s testimony should be heard.”

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan on the letter: “Iran’s willingness to conduct operations in the Western Hemisphere and on American soil is clear. In contrast to the U.S. State Department’s recent assessment that Iran’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is ‘waning,’ Nisman’s investigation revealed that Iran is deeply embedded within countries in Latin America and is ready to exploit its position to ‘execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides to do so.’ Argentina’s decision to deny Nisman permission to share his findings publicly sends a troubling message and is deeply disturbing to regional security and U.S. homeland security.”

Excerpts from the letter are below:

Dear Madam President:

            We write to express our sincere disappointment and deep concern over the Government of Argentina’s decision to deny General Prosecutor of the AMIA Case, Mr. Alberto Nisman, the opportunity to testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency’s hearing on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 entitled, “Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere.”  This Congressional Subcommittee is composed of Members of Congress from both political parties, as all committees and subcommittees are, and we consider this issue of Iran one of critical importance.

            Mr. Nisman was invited to share the findings from his October 2006 and May 2013 investigations into the AMIA bombings, which placed responsibility for the attacks on the highest authorities within the Government of Iran.  Furthermore, his investigation underscored a critical issue to U.S. homeland security, showing that Iran was “the main sponsor” of an attempted attack in June 2007 on American soil to blow up John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport in Queens, New York. Had the plot not been uncovered, an untold number of Americans could have been killed by this terrorist act.

          The Government of Argentina has indicated its desire to pursue justice and truth on Iranian involvement in the AMIA bombing.  However, the decision to deny authorization for Mr. Nisman to testify before the U.S. Congress does call into question the authenticity of your intentions, and we are deeply disturbed.  We respectfully request that you reconsider this issue in light of regional security interests and allow Mr. Nisman to share with Members of Congress the results of his work.

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