The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, has ruled out on Thursday that the infiltration of the US secret services into the National Intelligence Centre (CNI), which has resulted in the arrest of two Spanish agents and the expulsion of at least two Americans, as reported by EL PAÍS, will affect relations between Madrid and Washington. "In no case does it affect the fundamental core in the relations of two countries that are allies and friends," Robles emphasized, after confirming that "the complaints from Spain were transferred at the time" to the U.S. ambassador in Madrid, Julissa Reynoso.
"The United States and Spain are friends, partners, allies," said the minister during a visit to the Guadarrama Brigade, at its base in El Goloso (Madrid). "When there are issues that may affect us, they are discussed and dealt with, but that in no way includes these relationships that we have," he added. "Our commitment to the United States within the scope of the Atlantic Alliance and the bilateral sphere is a firm commitment, as countries that are serious and allies and committed," he concluded.
Spain Forces the Departure of Two U.S. Spies for Infiltrating CNI
Robles summoned the U.S. ambassador to Spain, Julissa Reynoso, to convey his complaints about the fact that the U.S. intelligence services had recruited two members of the CNI to provide them with information classified as secret in exchange for a considerable amount of money. At least two agents stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid have been expelled for these events.
Robles did not want to provide more details, alleging that there is an open judicial procedure that has been declared secret, but stressed that the case "arose as a result of the work itself" of the CNI, which "detected that irregular conduct was being carried out that could constitute a crime" and reported the facts to the Prosecutor's Office.
The discovery that two agents of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) were bribed for providing classified information to the United States has created an unprecedented situation between Madrid and Washington. The defense minister, to whom the CNI depends, summoned the U.S. ambassador in Madrid, Julissa Reynoso, to her office after the summer to ask for explanations for an action that is considered hostile and unusual between two allied countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, also called the representative of the Biden Administration in Madrid and conveyed the discomfort of the Executive, according to government sources.
The operation, which culminated two months ago with the arrest of two Spanish secret service agents, began before the summer, when a CNI security check revealed that they had accessed classified information that they did not need for their work and were not authorized to know. The internal investigation confirmed that at least one of the agents, a middle cadre at the intelligence center, had been recruited by U.S. spies to obtain secret information on demand in exchange for a large sum of money. According to sources close to the CNI, he is an area chief, one of the sections that are part of the intelligence division, while the other detainee is his assistant.
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