Argentina Confirms Bush Daughter Robbed
Wednesday, November 22, 2006; 10:27 PM
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- The Argentine government confirmed on Wednesday that a daughter of President Bush had her purse stolen during a visit to the Argentine capital, despite the presence of Secret Service agents and local police.
"The daughter of the president was on a tour in a typical tourist place, left her bag on the floor and it was stolen," Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez told reporters, confirming U.S. and Argentine media reports.
"There isn't much I want to say about this topic," he said.
Fernandez did not say which of Bush's twin daughters was robbed and said that the incident had not been reported to police.
ABC News, citing unidentified law enforcement reports, said on its Web site Tuesday that Barbara Bush's purse and cell phone were taken.
La Nacion newspaper, citing anonymous government sources, said Wednesday that the incident occurred Sunday afternoon in the popular tourist district of San Telmo.
It said a pair of thieves removed the purse from under a table while Secret Service agents stood guard at a distance.
Fernandez said the Argentine government had been informed about the visit of the Bush twins but had not reported it publicly.
"From now on, we are participating actively" in protecting the twins, who "have not yet left," he said. "I do not handle their agenda."
The White House, the Secret Service and State Department in Washington and U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires all declined comment.
On Wednesday in San Telmo, Argentines sipped coffee and watched TV news anchors interviewing passers-by as reports on the theft filled news and talk shows.
Barbara's twin, Jenna, visited neighboring Paraguay last month for a UNICEF program for young professionals.
Tour guide Guillermina Cambiasso said she cautions tourists to guard their valuables and not carry passports on the streets. But like others, she asked: "How could this happen with the security she has?"
Associated Press Writer Bill Cormier in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.