Spain to reform secret services after phone-hacking scandal: PM | Politics News

Pedro Sanchez also promised new legislation regulating ‘confidential information’ following the hacking of the phones of top politicians.

According to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Spain will “strengthen judicial control” over its secret services following the mobile phone hacking scandal of top politicians.

The scandal erupted in April when it emerged that the phones of Catalan separatist leaders had been tapped by Spanish intelligence services.

It expanded when the government confirmed the phone of Sanchez and Minister of Defense and Interior were also targeted in an “external attack”.

The incident has sparked a crisis between Sanchez’s minority government and the Catalan pro-independence party, the ERC.

Sanchez’s fragile coalition relies on the ERC to pass legislation in parliament and remains in power until the next general election in late 2023.

“The point is to strengthen the guarantee of this control but also to ensure the utmost respect for the individual and political rights of the human person,” Mr. reform father.

Mr. Sanchez also said the government would pass a new law governing “secret information”, which would replace the current law passed in 1968 under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

“We must urgently apply the provisions to democratic, constitutional principles,” he said.

The director of the spy agency was fired

Government last month sacked head of Spain’s CNI intelligence agency, Paz Esteban, on the hacking scandal. She was the first woman to lead the company.

Her dismissal came after she told a parliamentary committee that 18 Catalan separatists, including Pere Aragones, the head of the regional government of Catalonia, were being monitored by the CNI but always had court approval. judgment.

Director of the Spanish Intelligence Service (CNI) Paz Esteban looking down
Esteban was the first woman to lead Spain’s spy agency [File: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA]

Canadian cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab said in April that the phones of more than 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement had been tapped with Pegasus spyware after an independent bid failed. in 2017.

The scandal deepened after the government announced on May 2 that the phones of Sanchez and Defense Secretary Margarita Robles had been hacked by the same spyware, run by the Israeli group NSO available in May and June 2021.

Sanchez is the first serving head of government to be confirmed as a controversial target Spyware Pegasus.

The government later said the phone of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska was also among those hacked last year.

The revelations have raised questions about who is to blame and whether Spain has proper security protocols in place.

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