Two attacks carried out through the Pegasus spying program on Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in 2021 extracted 2.6 gigs and 130 megabytes of data, respectively, government sources told EFE.
Madrid, Spain | On the other hand, interference on the mobile phone of the Spanish Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, extracted nine megabytes of data, according to the sources cited by EFE following the official report that concluded that the phones of the two government officials were “illicit and external” eavesdropping through that computer program.
At a press conference at Palácio da Moncloa, the executive’s headquarters, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, indicated that the two attacks on Sánchez’s cell phone, in May 2021, and one on Robles, in the following June, made it possible to extract a ” certain volume of data” whose exact content is currently unknown.
The sources cited by the Spanish agency later specified the amount of data.
The Spanish government did not specify whether the “external attack” was carried out by a foreign country or international corporation.
The use of the Israeli-made Pegasus computer program was initially denounced by opposition members and separatists in Catalonia.
The Pegasus program, manufactured by a private Israeli company, can only be sold and used by governments in the context of “fighting terrorism”, but it has been at the center of several spy scandals against politicians, journalists and human rights defenders across the world, namely Spain, Morocco and France.
The program, which can only be sold after authorization from the Israeli government, has already been banned in the United States.
At the press conference at Moncloa, in which the spokeswoman for the Spanish government, Isabel Rodriguez, also participated, Minister Bolaños explained that, according to reports from the Spanish cybersecurity organization (CNC), there were two intrusions on Pedro’s cell phone. Sanchéz and a wiretap on Robles’ mobile phone.
The “illegal intervention” was confirmed following an investigation that is still ongoing into the communications of all members of the Spanish government.
“These are confirmed and extremely serious facts that indicate that there have been intrusions on state institutions and that they are illegal,” added Bolaños, noting that the facts were reported today to the National Audience, with the government’s intention to file a complaint.
The sources quoted by EFE said that the Spanish prime minister stopped using the device that had been tapped a few days ago.
Following the Spanish government’s press conference, Oskar Matute, a Basque independentist deputy from the EH Bildu party, said that it is necessary to investigate – “so that there are no doubts” – whether the facts announced today were not carried out “through the sewers of the State” or whether they were carried out independently.
Speaking to digital radio station La Cafetera, Matute said that the alleged spying against the prime minister and the defense minister reveals that the initial allegations about spying against Catalan separatists “were well founded” and were not “exaggeration”.
The new Popular Party leader Nuñes Feijóo expressed “unequivocal support” for the government of Pedro Sanchéz and called for “the preservation of the security of the state” and institutions.
Feijóo asked that “the security measures be tightened so that cases of espionage on the main Spanish officials” are avoided.
Today, Catalan deputies from the CUP (Candidacy for Popular Unity) Carlos Riera, Albert Botran and David Fernàndez filed a complaint in a Barcelona court against alleged acts of espionage through the Pegasus computer program.
According to a statement from the CUP, the complaint on behalf of the three deputies states that it is a crime against intimacy with the aim of “revealing secrets”.
Likewise, the Catalan separatist organization Ómnium Cultural indicated today that it has already filed a complaint about possible acts of spying on members of the group.
On the other hand, the Government of the Spanish Autonomous Region of Catalonia (Generalitat) announced that it will periodically inspect the mobile phones of 500 officials in official positions due to threats carried out through espionage programs such as Pegasus.
Previously, intrusions were denounced to dozens of Catalan independentists, including the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès.
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