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The European mission on the 'Pegasus case' believes it "plausible" that Morocco is behind the spying on Sánchez


The MEPs criticize the little collaboration of the Spanish Government in its investigations into the intrusion into the mobile phones of 63 independentistas

The mission of the European Parliament that in the last two days has visited Spain to learn about the progress of the different investigations into the

Pegasus case

It has concluded that it is "plausible" that Morocco is behind the infection with the Israeli program suffered by the official mobile phones of Pedro Sánchez and three of his ministers - the head of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska;

Defense, Margarita Robles, and Agriculture, Luis Planas― in May 2021, in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with the Rabat authorities.

The head of the delegation, the Dutchman Jeroen Lenaers, stated that although "it is not clear who spied on the Spanish government, the clues point to third countries, including Morocco."

Lenaers has stressed that the lack of conclusive evidence makes it "necessary to investigate more."

In the same vein, his partner, also Dutch Sophia In'T Veld, has stated

for whom what happened with the telephones of the Spanish Executive and other European governments is a "quite worrying" issue that must be investigated at a European level and not only within each country.

Both said they have asked Europol, the EU police force, to participate in the investigations.

The espionage of Sánchez and his ministers has been investigated in Spain by the judge of the National Court José Luis Calama since April 26 of last year, after presenting a complaint by the State Attorney for the infection of their mobile phones.

The Government, which publicly denounced the intrusion with the Pegasus program, has at all times avoided pointing out the responsibility of Morocco or any other country.

The judicial investigation has so far resulted in the taking of statements from several of those affected and from those who at the time the espionage occurred were responsible for the security of the executive's communications, including the then director of the Center National Intelligence Agency (CNI), Paz Esteban, dismissed due to this event, but with minimal progress.

That complaint occurred in the midst of a political storm due to a report by Citizen Lab, a group of analysts linked to the University of Toronto (Canada), which claimed that 63 people related to the Catalan independence movement had allegedly been attacked with Pegasus.

The CNI later admitted having carried out 18 of these intrusions, including the one suffered by the current president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, but hid behind the fact that he had judicial authorization.

In fact, the European Parliament investigation commission that has visited Spain has focused a good part of its efforts on clarifying the espionage of these 63 people, as the two Dutch representatives have stressed at a press conference.

"Insufficient" explanations from the Government

The stated objective of the visit was "to better understand the checks and balances in place in this country to prevent any illegal use of spyware."

For this, this Tuesday its members have met, precisely, with Aragonès;

the Minister of Foreign Action, Meritxell Serret, and the ERC candidate for mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ernest Maragall, three of the victims.

The Catalan president has complained to the commission of investigation of the "insufficient" explanations given by the Spanish government to the espionage of the independentistas.

“No one has officially contacted me to answer the following questions: Who is responsible?

Who was in the know?

Who authorized the wiretapping?

With what purpose?

Who received the reports and where the data is stored and what information of ours does the CNI have at its disposal, in principle?”, he asked the MEPs.

The European mission, made up of 10 MEPs and who arrived in Spain after visiting Israel, Poland, Greece, Cyprus and Hungary, is going to draw up a text of conclusions which, as Lenaers has advanced, will include the recommendation to review the official secrets law and the framework of the CNI.

The head of the mission has also urged the Spanish government to "cooperate with the courts" that are investigating the espionage of the independentistas and to give "more information and transparency" to the victims.

For her part, Sophia In'T Veld, responsible for writing the paper, expressed her concern about the "invasive" nature of the spyware and reminded governments, including the Spanish one, that it should only be used "in exceptional cases when there is a very clear and imminent danger to national security."

During the appearance before the media of the two members of the mission, he has planned the alleged lack of collaboration of the Spanish Government in their investigations.

Although Lenaers has been cautious and has justified that in the end they could only meet with a senior executive officer - the Secretary of State for the European Union, Pascual Navarro - on the Spanish political agenda due to the motion of censure that began this Tuesday in the Congress, your partner has charged against the little information that Madrid has provided them.

“There is little if not any official information”, she said, before criticizing the fact that the protection of national security is sought for this type of action: “National security is so broad that it can accommodate anything.

It has to be explicit, ”he added.

In'T Veld has argued that “ideas,

however crazy they may seem to you, they cannot be the subject of [an investigation for] national security.”

The result of the commission's visit will produce a report that must be approved by the European Parliament.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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