This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) that would have required the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to the House and Senate intelligence committees on human rights violations committed by Argentina’s military government during the 1970s and 1980s. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for U.S. intelligence agencies.
Hinchey urged support for his amendment: “…In 1976, amid social unrest and a deep political crisis in Argentina, a military coup installed one of the cruelest dictatorships South America has ever seen. Illegal detentions, torture, and summary executions of dissidents became routine….Over the years, as the victims of the repression increasingly went missing, a new tactic of the Argentine security forces was revealed. It is estimated that 30,000 people disappeared in Argentina between 1976 and 1985. Many of these victims, known as `the disappeared,' were abducted. They were tortured and then dropped far out into the ocean….This amendment that I am offering would direct the Director of National Intelligence to report to the House and Senate Intelligence panels on information it has regarding the human rights violations of the military government in Argentina and also seeks to help shed light on the unknown fate of the Argentine children who were born in captivity….Thousands of families have waited more than 30 years to learn the fate of their loved ones, and today we have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to truth and justice and help bring to a close this troubling chapter in Argentina's history.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) opposed this amendment: “I certainly can sympathize with the gentleman's intention to try to bring some closure for families in this particularly difficult issue in Argentina, and it may certainly result in some information to those who are conducting maybe historical research and analysis and certainly to mend the wounds that have been created in this particular situation. It would also do something, I think, equally damaging to today's effort in the war on terror. It would divert the intelligence community from its mission of protecting the United States and our interests from current threats….There are too many threats in too many places for our people to handle it. And what this amendment does, although it is very well intended, it takes resources away to apply it to a problem that is 20 to 30 years old. I am sorry, we just don't have that luxury today.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 194-214. Voting “yea” were 176 Democrats and 18 Republicans. 207 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to the House and Senate intelligence committees on human rights violations committed by Argentina’s military government during the 1970s and 1980s.