• Espionage The Government plants the European delegation investigating the 'Pegasus case': no minister will receive them
  • Courts Pere Aragonès sues former director of CNI for espionage of Pegasus

The European Parliament's committee of inquiry into the Pegasus case has issued the report on Monday with its conclusions after more than a year of work. It points to Morocco as the "possible" responsible for the espionage on the mobile phones of the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

On the other hand, the report of conclusions, which has been approved by 30 votes in favor, 3 against and 4 abstentions, assumes that it was the "Spanish authorities" who spied on Catalan independence politicians, 18 of them with judicial authorization, although it questioned the proportionality of the wiretapping. "Based on a series of indicators, some of which were admitted to the Official Secrets Commission (of the Congress of Deputies), it is assumed that the surveillance of the Catalan targets was carried out by Spanish authorities," the report states.

The Spanish Government has always defended in the Congress of Deputies that the investigations were carried out with judicial authorization and that it is obliged to keep them secret.

After knowing the conclusions of the investigation commission, the Popular Party has valued that the report asks for more "clarity" to the President of the Government on the possible role of Morocco in cases of cybersurveillance with the Pegasus system. For the PP, the European Parliament has evidenced the scarce information provided by the Government of Spain on the espionage of Sánchez's phone and has asked for "more clarity and transparency".

The text of the investigation commission states that the National Intelligence Center has recognized the espionage of 18 Catalan separatists – all of them with judicial authorization – including the current president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, or former president Carles Puigdemont, although the latter not directly but through his wife's phone.

"As for the 18 cases in which a court order had been issued, the legality has been verified and confirmed by the Ombudsman, but its specialty, adequacy, exceptionality, proportionality and necessity can only be verified by a court," the report states.

Regarding the other 47 individuals linked to the independence movement who were also spied on according to the Citizen Lab report, "it remains unclear whether they were selected by the CNI with a court order or if another authority received court orders to legally select them," the report says. It adds that "it has not been possible to assess to what extent" these 47 people "constituted an imminent threat to the national security or territorial integrity of the State."

Limited explanations

The Commission of Inquiry – which traveled to Madrid to analyze the Spanish case – assures that "Spain has an independent judicial system with sufficient safeguards," but at the same time, it says that the explanations given by the president of the CNI, Esperanza Casteleiro Llamazares, "were limited and left many questions in the air."

Puigdemont abstained in the vote because, in his opinion, "the report shows the seriousness of the facts, but unfortunately, it follows the Spanish Government," stating that the Spanish judicial system is a guarantee.

Jordi Cañas, MEP of Citizens, could not vote on the report because he is not a member of the Commission, but said that the text "lies" and was "convinced" that the rapporteur of the text, the liberal Sophie in 't Veld, "knows that what it says cannot be proven" and "that what it is doing is casting a shadow of doubt on a solid democracy like ours".

From ERC, on the other hand, the MEP Diana Riba – who was also spied on – showed satisfaction with the text because "it broadly addresses what Catalangate is" and "confirms that the legal framework of the Spanish State is obsolete".

The PP MEP and former Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zodio, voted in favor of the text because, among other reasons, "it denies the accusations of Catalan secessionism and that these secessionist politicians have been victims of any abuse, since it declares them the target of surveillance for reasons of national security," he said in a statement.

  • Pegasus Case
  • Morocco
  • Government of Spain

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