Spain’s government has repeatedly said that the CNI cannot tap phones without prior judicial authorization. At the same time, the government said that the secrecy law shielding all CNI activities prevents the agency from confirming whether it possesses Pegasus, the spyware sold by Israeli company NSO Group.
Hacking revelations involving the cell phones of politicians have put Spain’s typically circumspect intelligence agency in an uncomfortable spotlight, AP reports.
In one case, Spain’s National Intelligence Center is accused of gross negligence for allowing unknown sources to tap the phone in Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s pocket with the Pegasus spyware. Although Spain has refused to point a finger at Morocco, the dates the phones of Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were hacked last year match up with a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
The intelligence agency, known by its Spanish acronym CNI, also is accused of using the Pegasus program to hack the phones of over 60 Catalan separatists. Amid the back-to-back scandals involving alleged espionage, plans for a public ceremony to observe CNI’s 20th anniversary were postponed.
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