The Spanish government has declared that its President Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, were the subject of “illegal” tapping, using the Israeli software Pegasus.
At a hastily called press conference on Monday morning, Félix Bolaños, the minister for the presidency, said Sanchez’s phone was targeted in May and June 2021, while Robles’ was targeted in June 2021. Data was pulled from both phones.
Bolaños said the “illicit” and “external” targeting would be investigated by Spain’s highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, adding that the targeting had to come from abroad because any surveillance of this guy in Spain would have required judicial authorization.
“These facts have been confirmed and are irrefutable. I don’t think now is the time to get into guesswork or conjecture about what the motivation may have been.”did he declare.
“When we talk about external intrusion, what we mean is that it is not the work of state agencies and that it has not been authorized by justice”, explained the Minister.
The phones of other government officials are being examined to determine if they may also have been targeted.
The allegations come as the Spanish government faces questions over how Pegasus, which is being sold by Israeli company NSO Group, was allegedly used to monitor dozens of members of the Catalan independence movement, including the president of the Catalan region. northeast of Spain, Pere Aragonès, and three of his predecessors.
The Catalan regional government has pointed the finger at Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI), which insists its operations are overseen by the Supreme Court and that it acts “in full compliance with the legal system and in absolute compliance with applicable laws”.
The Spanish government has promised an internal CNI investigation into the alleged targeting of Catalan activists, while Spain’s public ombudsman has also opened an independent investigation.