US probed Argentine leader's "nerves": leaked cable
US intelligence operatives wanted to know if Argentine President Cristina Kirchner was taking medication to deal with her "nerves and stress" in a secret cable released by Wikileaks and published late Monday by Spanish daily El Pais.
The State Department cable, dated New Year's Eve of 2009 -- some 10 months ahead of her husband Nestor Kirchner's death -- also asked about his health and whether his temper had turned more towards emotional extremes.
It was sent to the US embassy in Buenos Aires well before Nestor Kirchner, who was president from 2003 to 2007 before making way for his wife, died of a heart attack October 27, 2010 at the age of 60.
In the confidential document, the department's bureau of intelligence research confessed to having a better understanding of Nestor Kirchner than of his wife Cristina.
"How is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner managing her nerves and anxiety? How does stress affect her behavior toward advisors and/or her decision-making?" asked the message from the bureau's office of intelligence operations.
"What steps does Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner or her advisers/handlers take in helping her deal with stress? Is she taking any medications? Under what circumstances is she best able to handle stresses? How do Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's emotions affect her decision-making and how does she calm down when distressed?" it asked.
The document also requested a status update on Nestor Kirchner's "gastro-intestinal illnesses," and whether he was taking any medication for the condition.
"Long known for his temper, has Nestor Kirchner demonstrated a greater tendency to shift between emotional extremes? What are the most common triggers to Nestor Kirchner's anger?" it asked.
US intelligence researchers also delved into the working relationship of Argentina's first couple, asking whether Cristina Kirchner shared her then husband's "adversarial view of politics or whether she attempted to monitor his "heavy-handed political style."
"How do Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Nestor Kirchner divide up their day? On which issues does Cristina de Kirchner take the lead and which issues does she leave to Nestor Kirchner?" it asked.
© 2010 AFP