Portugal's top spy resigns in row over cuts to service

image captionSied's logo is a watchful owl

The head of Portugal's intelligence agency has resigned over budget cuts which would see the closure of most of its offices abroad.

The resignation of Jorge Silva Carvalho, director of the Defence Strategic Intelligence Service (Sied), was accepted, Portuguese media report.

Budget cuts planned for 2011 would mean the closure of seven of the service's 11 foreign offices.

Mr Silva Carvalho was quoted as saying the decision was a "mistake".

The outgoing director reportedly told senior colleagues on Wednesday he was quitting as "a matter of conscience" in a bid "to draw attention to the mistake that is being made" by the government.

He was quoted as saying that the closure of Sied's foreign offices would be "a serious setback for the service".

A new director will be appointed by 1 December, the government information office said.

Jorge Silva Carvalho had led the service since April 2008.

Portugal is under intense pressure from other eurozone countries and financial markets to restore confidence in its finances by cutting its budget to rein in its deficit.

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