Spain's spy chief dismissed over Pegasus case

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, August 24, 2021.
AP Photo/Sebastian ScheinerA logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, August 24, 2021.

Citizen Lab says that over 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement were targeted by Pegasus

The Spanish government dismissed the country's spy chief Paz Esteban following the disclosure of the use of Pegasus software to snoop on Spanish officials, a government source told media on Tuesday, confirming a report by El Pais newspaper.

Last month, Canada's digital rights group Citizen Lab said that over 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement were targeted by Pegasus spyware, made by Israel's NSO Group. 

Catalonia's leftist pro-independence party ERC, an ally of the Spanish minority government, said it would not support it until Madrid took measures to restore confidence in response. 

Days later, the Spanish government reported it detected the Pegasus spyware in the mobile phones of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles. 

Joel Saget/AFP
Joel Saget/AFPThis studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features 'Pegasus' spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021.

Esteban appeared last week before lawmakers in Congress to explain the eavesdropping on Catalan leaders. She took her position in 2020 after years of service as an agent with the National Intelligence Center. 

The committee at which she appeared is subject to official secrecy. Still, the lawmakers in attendance said Esteban acknowledged that the spy agency wire-tapped 18 pro-independence leaders but always under court order, as the law requires.

ERC legislator Gabriel Rufian supported the decision to sack Esteban.

"(It) seems logical to me, and I think it would also be good to declassify some documents and set up an investigation committee," he told reporters, according to Reuters.

This article received 0 comments