October 14, 1997

Argentine Jews want FBI, CIA information on bombings

By Stephen Brown BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's Jews asked President Carlos Menem Tuesday to lobby President Clinton this week for information from the FBI and CIA about two bomb attacks on Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994.

Leaders of the 250,000-strong Jewish community, one of the world's largest, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency have withheld vital information about the unsolved bomb attacks that killed 115 people.

Jewish community leaders asked Menem to ensure the issue of extremist violence takes priority in talks with Clinton. Jewish leaders and four relatives of victims of the bombings will also have an interview with Clinton at his own request.

Clinton is not scheduled to visit the rubble of the Israeli Embassy that was bombed in 1992 killing 29 people, or the rebuilt AMIA Jewish community center razed by a bomb in July 1994 that killed 86.

But Argentine Jews hope the meeting will invigorate stalled investigations.

Not one person is in custody for the 1992 attack and the only people in jail for AMIA bombing are three policemen and a car thief accused of providing the vehicle.

Israel and the Jewish community accuse the Supreme Court of ``shelving'' the embassy case for five years and one of its members of anti-Semitism for suggesting it was carried out by Jewish extremists. Last month Jewish leaders lodged a 100-page legal complaint accusing ``organisms of the state'' of ''diverting, obstructing and impeding'' the AMIA bomb probe.

Outspoken criticisms from Clinton or Jewish groups during his visit would seriously embarrass Menem as he fights for his majority in the lower house of Congress in Oct. 26 elections.

At bitter ceremonies in July to mark three years since the AMIA bombing, Laura Ginsberg, whose husband was killed, made an angry speech accusing Menem ``of being the accomplice.''

Clinton has been lobbied by U.S. lawmakers to publicly urge Argentina to solve the bombings, but the cautious tone adopted by U.S. officials and Jewish leaders makes it look unlikely.