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ARGENTINA | 13-12-2023 23:10

Lawyer Silvestre Sívori tasked with overhauling intelligence services

Javier Milei’s austerity has already reached the AFI intelligence services – the president is launching a voluntary retirement offer for spies. In an emergency decree criticising the agency’s handling by predecessor Alberto Fernández, the libertarian slammed its "notorious institutional decay."

President Javier Milei has placed Argentina’s intelligence services (Agencia Federal de Inteligencia, AFI) under trusteeship via an emergency decree and will implement a régime of voluntary retirement for spies.

News of the overhaul a day after the new head of state appointed 39-year-old lawyer Silvestre Sívori as the agency’s new chief.

Via Emergency Decree 22/2023, published last Wednesday in the Official Gazette, President Milei ordered a trusteeship for AFI (ex-SIDE) for the next two years "or until the motives (for this move) cease to apply."

The institution had already been placed under the control of a previous trustee by Milei’s predecessor Alberto Fernández. But Milei complained that there had been "a notorious institutional decay in detriment to the objectives proposed by the Ley de Inteligencia Nacional N° 25.520."

"Trusteeships aim at removing the causes for them, guaranteeing the faithful fulfilment of the objectives attributed to the organisation by the law of its creation until the institution is normalised," underlined the head of state.

The president further criticised that the Frente de Todos administration "drained the organisation of funds with the apparent objective of subsequently re-allocating them to nutritional and educational public policies to tackle the social emergency yet there is no substantial evidence of their being duly accredited."

Via the trusteeship Milei will seek to "revise the use of reserve funds as well as the purchases and contracts made within the framework of the revived Decree N° 1311/15 and its amendments and Decree N° 331/23 in order to detect any anomaly or non-compliance, in which case investigations will be started and the corresponding denunciations made."

 

Austerity at AFI

The decree also left it quite clear that Milei’s cost-cutting plan would have an impact on AFI structures, "placing on stand-by the staff as [the trustee] estimates to be convenient" and "the extraordinary pensioning-off of those agents who, without regard to age, have met the requisites for voluntarily obtaining their pensions with their services no longer necessary."

To that end "a Commission for the Re-categorisation of Staff will be created" while advancing in the implementation of "a régime of voluntary retirement" for spies, it details.

"It is imperious to restructure state intelligence so that there is coordination between its various members directed towards the specific activities of intelligence and counterintelligence with the objectives of protecting national sovereignty and preserving constitutional order, as well as formulating useful intelligence tips for the pursuit of national objectives," remarked the President in his emergency decree.

 

Appointment

In the same edition of the Official Gazette, Milei also formalised the designation of the lawyer Silvestre Sívori as AFI trustee.

The 39-year-old is a close ally of Cabinet Chief Nicolás Posse, like many in Milei’s government, with a track record in City Hall and the 2015-19 Cambiemos Presidency.

Sívori’s name had been rumoured as a potential AFI chief. Others in the frame for the post included Santiago Caputo and Mariano Federici, the former head of the UIF anti-money-laundering watchdog.

During his time in the City administration, Sívori held positions in the Legal & Technical Secretariat and the Environmental Protection Agency. He was also a lawyer in the General Technical, Administrative and Legal Directorate of the City’s Transport Undersecretariat.

He moved to the national government in 2016, working with then-Transport minister Guillermo Dietrich in the portfolio’s legal department until 2019. In 2021, he again worked for City Hall in its Attorney-General's Office.

In 2017, Sívori was temporarily appointed (for 180 days) to the position of general director of legal affairs under the Undersecretary of Administrative Coordination of the Transport Ministry, according to data from the Official Gazette published in that year.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL/NA

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