PM Sánchez announces reform of National Intelligence Center following Pegasus revelations – Eurasia Review

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the Lower House of Parliament that the executive’s actions in spying through “Pegasus” are guided by transparency, collaboration with justice and strengthening public security.

During his appearance before the plenary session of the Legislative Chamber to report on espionage through the computer program “Pegasus”, Sánchez underlined his commitment to democratic regeneration, exemplarity and the fight against corruption . Sánchez assured that at the current stage there is no edict “to appropriate public money” nor authorization to create a “parallel police” to persecute rival parties.

“With this government, the Constitution is defended with the methods authorized by the Constitution and without violating the Constitution,” Sánchez said.

Sánchez added that the political action of the executive is guided by the principles of transparency, “unconditional” collaboration with the judiciary and the rest of the powers of the state, and the strengthening of public services, both the pillars of the welfare state and security. of all citizens.

Security, Sánchez said, requires discretion and confidentiality, which should not be confused with opacity or violation of fundamental rights. Information concerning national security is subject to the control of the courts, parliament and other institutions, including the Ombudsman, Sánchez explained. Sánchez pointed out that the government sets the priorities in terms of risk in this area, “but it does not know or decide on the operational decisions of the intelligence services, which are always subject to the final decision maker, which is the judicial authority that has legally established control”.

Report on “Pegasus” and mobile devices

Regarding the infiltration of the mobile devices of Catalan independence politicians and activists and several members of the government, including himself, by means of spyware, Sánchez pointed out that these attacks have been observed for years in many neighboring countries. .

“It is a fact that there has been a security breach in the procedures supposed to protect the confidentiality of communications. And as such, we have identified it and brought it to the attention not only of the justice system, but also of all citizens, far from any attempt to hide it,” Sánchez said.

Sánchez reviewed the actions taken to clarify this matter, including the internal control by the CNI, the presentation of the findings to the Commission of Official Secrets and the Ombudsman’s own initiative investigation, recalling that “any request for declassification made by the judges” in this will be dealt with as soon as possible.

In his speech, Sánchez advocated differentiating “information with solid evidence” from “mere conjecture” and recalled that the report of the interdisciplinary laboratory Citizen Lab on espionage recognizes the impossibility of conclusively attributing it to a specific entity. The Mediator’s report concludes that the action of the CNI was carried out in full compliance with the law. “The government fulfills its duty to preserve the constitutional order, with the instruments conferred on it by the Constitution. Nothing outside the law, everything according to the law,” Sánchez said.

In addition, Sánchez stressed his “unwavering commitment to dialogue as the only way to overcome the Catalan political conflict”, and regretted that this event undermined political and institutional trust between governments and hampered dialogue between the different parties, ” which produces such effective results” in improving coexistence in Catalonia. Sánchez expressed his commitment to resume “the agenda of the meeting”, enshrined in the Constitution to consolidate harmony in Catalan society.

Regulatory developments and budget commitments

During his appearance, Sánchez detailed various initiatives of the executive to improve security, such as the incorporation of 10,000 police officers and the Civil Guard, the increase in the salaries of agents, an infrastructure plan of 600 million euros and the National Cybersecurity Plan, “an ambitious roadmap” for both the public and private sectors.

Pedro Sánchez also defended the need to carry out the “updating, modernization and new regulation of state security and cybersecurity”, regulatory advances that must be accompanied by budgetary commitments and a greater coordination on cybersecurity.

Regarding the regulatory framework for intelligence services, he announced two legislative initiatives. First, the government will approve a new law on classified information, which will replace the current one, adopted in 1968, to adapt the law to democratic and constitutional principles and to the highest international standards.

And second, the executive will reform the organic law regulating the prior judicial control of the CNI, in accordance with the recommendations of the mediator. The objective, he said, is to strengthen the guarantees of this control, as well as to ensure maximum respect for the political and individual rights of individuals. In addition, the reflections of the European Parliament on advanced communications interception technologies will be taken into account.

Sánchez said the update of national security and cybersecurity strategies will complement this update of CNI procedures to deal with new threats and prevent further security breaches.

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