Stupor and disbelief is the feeling that settled in the parliamentary, allied and opposition forces, after listening to the “no explanations” and the “milonga” of Pedro Sánchez in relation to the cases of espionage with the Pegasus program to more than fifty of people related to independence, and the hacking of mobile phones, with the same software, of the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Defense and Interior.

No one was satisfied this Thursday with an appearance scheduled in principle to clarify why the CNI spied on the leaders and activists of the independence movement, some with judicial authorization and the majority without it, and who attacked and stole a huge amount of information from the devices cell phones of members of the Council of Ministers.

No parliamentary group saw their expectations met, even minimally, because Pedro Sánchez chose to shake off any responsibility in espionage cases by pointing the finger at the CNI and the Supreme Court magistrate in charge of its judicial control, as in the first article The law that regulates the State intelligence services did not stipulate that the obligation of the Center is to promptly inform the president and, even more, to comply with the guidelines that the latter sets in the Intelligence Directive.

Despite this, Sánchez placed the entire burden of proof on them, holding them ultimately responsible for the “security breach”, while he claimed to have had no knowledge of the operational activities carried out by the CNI to detect and neutralize, as also established by the law, any threat to the nation and the integrity of the State.

The president chose, to avoid the explanations demanded from the four corners of the parliamentary arch, to focus on the scandals and corruption carried out by the PP during the stage of Rajoy’s government and before. A strategy to divert attention from the main object of his appearance and, incidentally, try to rebuild a common front against the right with his pro-independence allies.

Thus, he devoted the first 20 minutes of his first speech before the plenary session entirely to attacking the first opposition party without making a single mention of the Pegasus case. Twenty minutes that would serve to cement his claim that the popular “corrupt democracy” and, in contrast, draw a picture of his Executive and his “transparent”, “honest” and “impeccable collaboration with Justice” management.

“With this government,” he said to distance himself from the “dark period” of the PP, “there is no room for illegality.” Later, to try to ingratiate himself with the pro-independence movement, victim of espionage, he called for a recovery of trust and understanding with the Generalitat despite the distancing of positions. And to placate the PNV, he finally offered to approve a new Law on Official Secrets -Basque nationalism has had a proposal registered in the Chamber for months that has been continually blocked by the Government-, review the law that regulates the National Center for Intelligence and reinforce the one that contemplates the judicial control of the secret services.

Despite the attacks on the opposition and winks at nationalists and independentists, Sánchez did not convince. Both wanted answers to his questions – who ordered the spying; why he investigated those whom he pretended to have as allies; what alleged crimes were trying to uncover; how long the phones were monitored and what information was stolen from them; why there are people spied on without judicial authorization; why the government revealed that the president had also been spied on just as the Pegasus scandal broke; who should guarantee the security of his cell phone… and so on ad infinitum-but none managed to clarify his doubts.

The ERC spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, Sánchez’s preferred partner insofar as he contributes 13 precious votes to carry out the government initiatives, was relentless. Rufián was not fooled and flatly rejected Sánchez’s argument, pointing to the CNI. “The biggest controller and the person in charge of the intelligence service is you,” he sentenced.

Esquerra’s representative reproached the president for his escapist attitude: “In a country where the main law is silence, it is not a country, it is a mafia.” Rufián questioned whether the sewers of the State have been “cleaned” and criticized the president for his attempt to “whitewash” the Government “in the face of everything that has happened.” After listening to the chief executive, the ERC spokesman lamented: “Today the right people are fewer and weaker.”

JxCat wondered “what Sánchez has come to Congress to do” and concluded that the president takes the deputies “for stupid.” For her spokesperson, Miriam Nogueras, there is no doubt that the president has spied on his political opponents and warned that Catalonia “will return to the streets to finish the work begun in 2017.”

The PDeCAT deputy, Ferrán Bel, one of those spied on without judicial authorization, disfigured the head of government for his attempt to shake off responsibilities by directing the focus towards the corruption of the PP. Bel insisted, like other parliamentary spokesmen, on the need to create an investigation commission in Congress to delve into the Pegasus case.

The CUP also charged harshly, summoning Sánchez to explain “how many rights the unity of Spain is exchanged for”, and Bildu lamented that “the same techniques as before are used with the aggravating circumstance that now the spies are precisely those who collaborate with the Government”. “We support you and you spy on us,” concluded Mertxe Aizpurua.

For the PP spokeswoman, Cuca Gamarra, the government’s management of the Pegasus case only demonstrates its “weakness” against the independence movement and its “irresponsibility.” Santiago Abascal, from Vox, branded the president an “autocrat” and disfigured him “having no scruples to lie”, and Ciudadanos, through the mouth of its leader, Inés Arrimadas, accused Sánchez of being a “demolition ball of the institutions of the Condition”.

The Government wants to make a gesture to its parliamentary allies as soon as possible to calm as much as possible their discomfort over the espionage to which some of its members have been subjected. The easiest promise to fulfill is to quickly reform the Official Secrets Law, which dates back to 1968. In order for the process to be accelerated, the Executive is considering the possibility that the Socialist Group be the one to present a bill, which would allow avoiding the reports from the Council of State, the General Council of the Judiciary and the Fiscal Council and thus try to get the initiative started in Congress before the end of the current period of sessions.

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