The hacking of the phones of Prime Minister Sánchez and Defense Minister Robles is stirring things up in Spain. Research shows that now 65 politicians, including the current and former presidents of Catalonia, have also been victims of espionage practices.
Every day more comes out about who is involved in the Pegasus case. Earlier this week, it was announced that the phones of the Prime Minister of Spain and Defense Minister Robles had been hacked with the Pegasus software. On Thursday, The Guardian reported about a list of 200 Spanish phone numbers of people who may have been traced.
65 Catalan and Basque separatists also spied on
A few days later, the Spanish news site RTVE.es writes that the list of phone numbers tapped is getting longer. Not only 200 Spanish numbers could be on a list to be tracked, but it now turns out, that 65 Catalan and Basque separatists have also been spied on with this software. This conclusion is drawn by the Canadian research agency Citizen Lab together with the University of Toronto.
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, but also Carles Puigdemont, Quim Torra, and other members and former members of the Catalan parliament and congress have been traced in recent years. Pro-independent activists, lawyers, and relatives of these politicians have also been monitored in recent years.
Spanish government bugged separatist leaders
Spanish intelligence admits that in 2017 when Catalonia unilaterally declared independence, the Spanish government bugged Catalan leaders with this software. The CNI does add that it had permission from the court for this.
An investigation is currently underway by the Audiencia Nacional into the hacking of the phones of Prime Minister Sánchez and Minister Robles. The Spanish intelligence service says it is currently looking into who the victims of the Pegasus software in Spain were. This is based on investigations by Citizen Lab, among others.
The leak of these large-scale espionage practices and the disclosure of some names whose phones have been hacked is shaking the political landscape in Spain. It puts pressure on the coalition government and leads to serious crises within the government.
Exciting meeting Sánchez and Aragonès after espionage practices
Prime Minister Sanchez and Catalan President Aragonès will meet for the first time today after the Pegasus issue was leaked. This meeting will take place at an economic meeting of the European Commission in Barcelona. It is Sánchez’s first time to talk openly about the spying practices and since Spanish intelligence revealed that the government was tapping separatist leaders, albeit with court approval, using the same spy software.
The Catalonian leader was also a victim of espionage practices. Consequently, he has been asking Sánchez for an explanation about this for days. Aragonès said during a press conference on Friday that trust between the two governments has been damaged. “In a democracy, you don’t spy on members of the other party.”
Also read: 200 Spanish phones on software hacking list