Audio tapes aired on the El Trece television channel yesterday appeared to contain clips of former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner insulting numerous political rivals in conversation with Oscar Parrilli, the man who directed the SI national intelligence services during her final months as head of state.

In the audio clips released on a show hosted by celebrity journalist Jorge Lanata—a long-time antagonist of CFK and de-facto ally of President Mauricio Macri—a voice who self-identifies as ‘Cristina’ throws insults at various political opponents including her former cabinet chief and opposition leader Sergio Massa and his current political bedfellow and former presidential candidate Margarita Stolbizer.

Most press reports on the clips worked on the assumption that they were indeed genuine, and the voices heard on the audio certainly sound like the former president and ex-intelligence chief.

The tapes had not been independently verified as authentic at the time of publication, and one might conclude that the way the clips fade in and out and do not seem to contain complete conversations suggest that they have been edited.

On Massa and Stolbizer

‘Cristina’: Have you seen how crazy Stolbizer is right now? (…) She’s a bad, bad [son] of a bitch.

(The voice attributed to CFK then refers to the sprawling accusations of corruption leveled at her by Stolbizer and suggests that it was Massa who encouraged her to go forward with the public accusation, before appearing to collude with Parrilli to target Massa in some way as a form of deflection or even retribution):

‘Cristina’: And I think the person who sent her to do this was Sergio Massa. 

‘Oscar’: Yes, I don’t doubt it.

‘Cristina’: We need to get this son of a bitch too.

Both Massa and Stolbizer ran as individual presidential candidates in Argentina’s latest general election in 2015, under the opposition Renewal Front (FR) and Progressives parties respectively.

Earlier this year they put aside their apparent ideological differences to campaign in the upcoming midterms on a joint platform called 1País or One Nation.

Massa is a Peronist politician and was formerly a close political ally of Fernández de Kircher, serving as cabinet chief for the Victory Front (FpV) government between 2008 and 2009 during her first term as president before resigning from the government and eventually attempting to replace her as head of state in the 2015 campaign

Stolbizer meanwhile is a centrist and long-time anti-corruption campaigner, who recently published a book called “I accuse,” which levels a series of corruption accusations at CFK.

The tapes are the latest in a series of leaked audio clips published on the El Trece television channel, which is owned by the powerful Clarín Group media company and is generally favorable in its coverage of current President Mauricio Macri and his Let’s Change (Cambiemos) administration, while it was heavily critical of CFK during her eight-year tenure.

Massa responded to the leaked tapes Monday in conversation with Radio Mitre, saying that he was “saddened” on hearing them.

They reflected “the logic of the damage I lived personally when they put a type of surveillance in my house,” he said in reference to the period of time during the 2013 midterm elections.

“With these types of things they do not scare anyone. Not even back in 2013 when we put an end to the dream of eternal re-electing of Cristina, and not now.”

“It seems to me that what Argentina needs are leaders who address its problems, rather than try and destroy each other,” he added.

Also included in the series of clips is commentary on various political figures and situations including current Security Minister Patricia Bullrich and CFK’s daughter Florencia Kirchner, who was implicated in a judicial investigation into the Kirchner family’s finances.

On Bullrich

‘Cristina’: The flight has to arrive at 21.20. Speak with that moron [Patricia] Bullrich and do not even think of sending those morons that she sends.

‘Oscar’: Yes, I’m going to say that we won’t be sending anyone.

On Court Cases Implicating CFK

‘Cristina’: What do you think was the most serious of all the cases that I’ve had (implicating me), to see if we agree?

‘Oscar’: The Nisman one.

‘Cristina’: Ah yes, we agree then.

On Florencia Kirchner’s Money

‘Cristina’: Listen, they’re going to call you about the Florencia thing.

‘Oscar’: Yes, I’ve already spoken about that. 

‘Cristina’: The truth is that they want to find corruption of a government in a succession file (…) and that the girl [Florencia Kirchner] never had money, she never worked and well, yes, what’s the problem?

On Various News Stories And Their Coverage

‘Cristina’: And about [jailed construction tycoon Lázaro] Báez what are they saying?

‘Oscar’: About Lázaro Báez that they have ratified his processing I think.

‘Cristina’: What do you think about the Dalbón thing? Is it OK?

(NB: Gregorio Dalbón is a lawyer who has represented CFK.)

‘Oscar’: The thing is that his (public) image is not very good.

‘Cristina’: Right yeah. It’s what we need.

‘Oscar’: You know that it helps because it draws the attention away from you. Now they talk about Dalbón and not about you.