Yesterday, Agustín Rossi, head of the Federal Intelligence Agency, filed a lawsuit against two of Argentina’s most prominent media outlets – Clarín and La Nación – and two of their journalists, respectively, alleging they violated the Intelligence Act after they published confidential information provided by the Agency to the Congress.
The journalists published their articles in Clarín on January 1, and in La Nación on January 3.
“We’re suing [journalists] Joaquín Morales Solá, Daniel Santoro, as well as La Nación and Clarín, for disclosing the names of intelligence agents, information about the Agency’s structure and functions, and data from a report that the Agency filed in Congress,” he said on Tuesday night in C5N. “It’s protected data, and it can’t be disclosed arbitrarily.”
Rossi refers to a report that the Agency filed after a freedom of information request made by opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio in December 2022. In their analysis, the journalists claimed that the information revealed the intention to create a military board within the Agency involving former army general, César Milani, and illegal telephone tappings. To those claims, Rossi responded that “there’s no military board or area whatsoever, and there are no military employees.”
According to a statement released by the Agency, disclosing the published information violates several articles of the Intelligence Law, including the confidentiality of its data. The law includes sanctions for those who fail to respect its secrecy.
“Journalists should know that the law protects the information they publish,” Rossi said. According to Clarín, both journalists will stick to professional confidentiality, which allows them to refuse to reveal their sources.
The Argentine Journalistic Entities Association (ADEPA) published a statement criticizing the lawsuit. “The information published by the journalists is at the core of the liberty of expression stated in our National Constitution,” they said. “Using the criminal system to go after journalists and media is inconceivable in democracy.”