The Spanish government today filed a complaint with the Audiencia Nacional for alleged spying on the cell phones of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles, despite the facts having taken place in 2021.
Madrid, Spain | Judicial sources told the Efe news agency that the complaint refers to the intrusion into the mobile devices (mobile phones) of Pedro Sánchez and Margarita Robles using the Pegasus computer program in May of June last year.
Today the Spanish government indicated that the Pegasus scandal has affected the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense who were targets of “illicit and external” wiretapping.
The eavesdropping and illegal surveillance of the two phones were announced by the Spanish government’s spokeswoman, Isabel Rodriguez, and by the Minister of the Presidency of the Government, Félix Bolaños, at a press conference that took place at Palácio de la Moncloa, Madrid.
The Spanish government has not yet specified whether the “external attack” was carried out by a foreign country or an 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 the private Israeli company NSO, can only be sold and used by governments and has been at the center of several spying scandals against politicians, journalists and human rights defenders around 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.
Today, Catalan deputies from the CUP (Candidacy for Popular Unity) Carlos Riera, Albert Botran and David Fernàndez filed a complaint with 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.
The CUP and the Ómnium Cultural group, targets of alleged spying, accuse the National Intelligence Center (CNI – Spanish state information services) of responsibility but ask the judges to investigate whether there is any unit of the Guardia Civil and the National Police that has using the Pegasus program, “directly or through third parties”.
The Catalan party and Ómnium Cultural are also asking the CNI and the Ministry of Defense for information on whether the Pegasus program has been purchased and for a European investigation order to be issued to the Luxembourg authorities on possible bank accounts attributed to the company NSO between 2016 and 2022.
The intention is to identify “possible Spanish buyers of the Pegasus software”.
Òmnium Cultural and CUP also ask that those responsible for the National Cybersecurity Institute, the Security Technological Center, the Cybersecurity Coordination Office and the Cybersecurity Agency of Catalonia be called to testify as witnesses so that they “facilitate” information about the Pegasus.
The requests have not yet been confirmed by the judges of the Barcelona court.
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.
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 if 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.
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