Europe

Spain to reform intelligence agency after Pegasus spying scandal

Gov't will approve new law on official secrets, says Spanish premier

Alyssa McMurtry   | 26.05.2022
Spain to reform intelligence agency after Pegasus spying scandal

MADRID

The Spanish prime minister announced on Thursday that the government will approve a new law on official secrets and reform the law that regulates Spain’s national intelligence agency.

Pedro Sanchez made the announcement as he was testifying to Spain’s parliament about the recent Pegasus spyware scandal.

Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI) recently admitted to hacking the phones of 18 Catalan separatists, although it has denied the Canadian research institute Citizen Lab's allegations of extensive espionage with Pegasus.

Sanchez insists the government was unaware of the spying, although the Spanish authorities, including the ombudsman, said the hacks were legal.

Citizen Lab, on the other hand, claims that 63 Catalan leaders were targeted with Pegasus spyware.

In an attempt to ease the concerns of the Catalan separatist politicians, who have backed Spain’s minority coalition government, but have now cut off dialogue with the government, Sanchez announced the two reforms related to Spain’s secret services.

The legal reforms could see the CNI needing Supreme Court authorization for future spying.

The “adaptation” of the laws, according to Sanchez, would also see updates related to new technologies.

However, Sanchez’s explanation and promises of reform may not be enough to regain the trust of his Catalan colleagues.

“It’s been proven that you illegally spied on 18 people. When you read their names, you realize they only have one thing in common: their ideology, that they’re separatists. What crime did they commit?” asked Gabriel Rufian, head of the separatist ERC party.

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