Spain govt says it has nothing to hide in spyware scandals

May 2, 2022, 6:50 PM | Updated: May 3, 2022, 6:53 am
FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks on his cell phone during a round table meeting a...

FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks on his cell phone during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Monday, July 20, 2020. Spanish officials said on Monday May 2, 2022 that the cellphones of the prime minister and the defense minister were infected with Pegasus spyware that is only available to government agencies, in an operation that was not authorised by the government. Reports detailing the breaches have been transferred to Spain's National Court for further investigation. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP, File)

(John Thys, Pool Photo via AP, File)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s government said Tuesday it had nothing to hide amid mounting unease over national security controversies involving Pegasus spyware, including the hacking of the prime minister’s cellphone and spying on Catalan separatists by unknown agents.

Cabinet spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez promised that the Socialist-led coalition government will engage in “the utmost collaboration with the legal authorities, including declassifying relevant documents if it proves necessary.”

Rodríguez faced a barrage of questions about the extraordinary security breaches after the weekly Cabinet meeting, when she failed to mention them in her opening remarks as the government tries to contain the political damage from the recent spying revelations.

On Monday, the government revealed that the cellphones of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were infected last year with Pegasus spyware, which is available only to countries’ government agencies.

The government was already under pressure to explain why the cellphones of dozens of people connected to the separatist movement in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region were infected with Pegasus between 2017 and 2020.

Covert spying operations in Spain require judicial consent.

The revelations came amid growing concerns in Europe about the misuse of cyber tools. The European Parliament launched an investigation last month into Pegasus spyware activities, including alleged cases of spying against Hungary, Poland and Greece.

Rodríguez, the Cabinet spokeswoman, said the government found out only last weekend that the cellphones of Sánchez and Robles had been targeted last year.

The powerful and controversial spyware silently infiltrates phones or other devices to harvest data and potentially spy on their owners.

Unanswered questions have swirled in Spain: why has the top-level breach become public only a year later? Who is behind the attacks and who is to blame for the security shortcomings? Are security protocols in Spain, which is a member of the European Union and NATO, inadequate?

The government has refused to speculate on who might be behind the spying, both of top government officials and of Catalan separatists. Spain’s ombudsman and National Court have opened investigations.

“In this case, as in many others, we have nothing to hide,” Rodríguez said.

Robles and the head of Spain’s intelligence service, known by its acronym CNI, are due to testify behind closed doors later this week at parliament’s intelligence affairs committee.

Suspicion about who hacked into the government cellphones has fallen on Morocco, which was in a diplomatic spat with Spain at the time.

Catalans pressing for the wealthy region to break away from Spain were targeted with the software of two Israeli companies, Candiru and NSO Group, the developer of Pegasus. The regional Catalan government has accused the Spanish national intelligence agency of spying on separatists.

Rodríguez said the government won’t take any action until the investigations reach conclusions.

“When we’ve figured out what happened, we’ll have to look at what can be improved, what needs changing, because it’s clear that (cyber)attacks have taken place and so there has to be an improvement,” Rodríguez told reporters.

Even so, she announced the government is investing 1 billion euros ($1.05 billion) in cybersecurity.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

Biologists working for Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Louisiana man admits kidnapping and plan to dismember gays

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A 21-year-old Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to the grisly kidnapping of a teen he met through a dating app for gay and bisexual men, and his sworn statement says he planned to kill and dismember gays until he was caught or killed. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop hate crime and […]
2 days ago
FILE - Pedestrians in lower Manhattan watch smoke billow from New York's World Trade Center on Tues...
Associated Press

Analysis: Russia’s war in Ukraine reaches a critical moment

LONDON (AP) — There are moments in history that appear as critical to the world as they are terrifying. Just this century: the 9/11 attacks in 2001; the U.S. “shock-and-awe´´ war on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq two years later; the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 killed millions and upended life; and most recently the Feb. 24 invasion […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Equatorial Guinea sues France at UN court over Paris mansion

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Equatorial Guinea has filed a case against France at the International Court of Justice accusing Paris of “misappropriation of public funds,” the court announced Friday. It’s the latest step in a lengthy legal tug-of-war centered on a mansion situated on an expensive avenue in the French capital. The latest case […]
2 days ago
FILE - Wynonna, Naomi, and Ashley Judd appear during Wynonna's concert in Ashland, Ky., on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

Judd sisters on mom Naomi, redemption, advocacy and grief

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The family of the late country music matriarch Naomi Judd is reflecting on her legacy ahead of an 11-city tour that will give fans a chance to say goodbye and rejoice in the music that became the soundtrack of their lives. Daughters Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd remembered their mother in […]
2 days ago
From left, Moscow-appointed head of Kherson Region Vladimir Saldo, Moscow-appointed head of Zaporiz...
Associated Press

With pomp, bluster and ceremony, Putin defies West in speech

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday cast his move to absorb four Ukrainian regions as part of an existential battle for Russia’s very survival against an aggressive West, a blustery show of his readiness to further up the ante in the conflict in Ukraine that has now entered its eighth month. The […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Spain govt says it has nothing to hide in spyware scandals