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Argentina tells the CIA to mind its own business

In his first on-the-record meeting with the media, held Wednesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta discussed the destabilizing effects of the global economic crisis. After he expressed particular concern over potential trouble in Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela, the Argentines are not happy. Yesterday President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner summoned the U.S. Ambassador to discuss the CIA ...

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Leon Panetta speaks after his ceremonial swearing-in as Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) Director, February 19, 2009, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

In his first on-the-record meeting with the media, held Wednesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta discussed the destabilizing effects of the global economic crisis. After he expressed particular concern over potential trouble in Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela, the Argentines are not happy. Yesterday President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner summoned the U.S. Ambassador to discuss the CIA director’s comments, and speaking at a news conference, Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana had this to say:

We consider the statements an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of our country, even more so coming from an agency that has a sad history of interference in the internal affairs in the countries in the region.”

While economists are predicting that Argentina’s GDP will contract next year, none of them seem to be forecasting this sort of doomsday scenario. Ambassador Earl Wayne claims that Panetta’s statements do not reflect the U.S. government’s official position, but rather the CIA chief was merely recounting the opinion of a “foreign source.” Even if that is true, it’s hard not to get the feeling that the CIA is once again causing trouble in Latin America.

Paul J. Richards/GETTYIMAGES

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