House Refuses to Declassify 28-Year-Old Files on Argentina Dictatorship

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Mike Rogers fears U.S. spies easily distracted
Survivors of Argentina’s military dictatorship four decades ago will have to wait for any help from the U.S. government in locating lost relatives, thanks to unwillingness on the part of House Republicans.
Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-New York) sponsored legislation directing American intelligence agencies to declassify files on the 1976-1983 military junta. But the measure failed, 214-194, largely because the GOP refused to support it.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Alabama, said the effort would “distract” U.S. spies from the fight against al-Qaeda.
One Argentine human rights group took offense to Rogers’ position. “We are very displeased with the news and the congressman’s aggressive remarks,” said Estela de Carlotta of the Asociación Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo. “One could expect a negative answer,” said de Carlotta, “but not such an offensive opinion.”
Activists want the U.S. to help because they contend the government’s intelligence files may contain information that could identify young Argentines who were stolen as babies by the military junta.
This is the fourth time Hinchey has sponsored an amendment to release the U.S. documents. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, the House approved the declassifications, but the proposal was killed in the Senate. In 1999, Hinchey successfully sponsored an amendment that declassified 24,000 documents relating to the dictatorship of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Argentina: US Shows Hypocrisy on Human Rights (by Michael Warren, Associated Press)
HR 754 (Open Congress)


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