The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has tried to get rid of his responsibility in the Pegasus case by going back to the “dark period” of “corruption” of the government stage of Mariano Rajoy and has presented his own administration as a model of “honesty” and ” transparency” accusing the opposition of focusing on “disqualification” and non-recognition of his legitimacy as head of the Executive. “With this government”, he has said, “there is no room for illegality”.
Sánchez has dedicated the first 20 minutes of his appearance in Congress to attacking the popular ones, reproaching them for their “destructive opposition” and drawing his government as “incompatible with corruption”: “With this government there is no permission to persecute rivals or to circumvent the Constitution”. He has assured that the fundamental principles of his management are “transparency”, “impeccable collaboration with the Justice” and the “strengthening of public services” and against this he has contrasted the entire list of corruptions – “criminal acts”, he has said- of the PP: Kitchen, Gürtel, Lezo…
Only after this barrage, the president has bordered on the central issue of the appearance ensuring that “confidentiality” should not be confused with “opacity” and in this sense has given as an example the “ex officio” action of the Ombudsman to check the performance of the Government in the Pegasus case.
Sánchez has placed all responsibility for espionage on the roof of the CNI and the Supreme Court judge who controls it, stating that the Government limits itself to setting the guidelines to be followed by the Center but does not know either the measures used or the decisions intelligence services operations. “It has never happened with this government and I guarantee you that it will not happen.”
The president has assured that he does not want to question the doubts raised by the report by the Citizen Lab forensic laboratory, which published a list of 65 people, all of them related to the independence cause, and who had been spied on through the Pegasus program, but he has asked distinguish between solid information and mere conjecture and “unproven facts”. He has also avoided delving into the relations maintained by some leaders of secessionism with foreign powers, referring to the contacts maintained by Puigdemont and his environment with Moscow.
He has called for understanding, dialogue and a “reunion” with Catalonia and has insisted that his personal commitment is to resume close contact with the Generalitat. And he has assured that “the problems of dialogue will be resolved with more dialogue and more democracy.”
At the end of his speech, the president announced a reinforcement of the investments in the CNI and an improvement in its capacities. In this sense, he added, his intention to review the law that regulates the intelligence service and reinforce its mechanisms of democratic control. Thus, the Government, following the proposal made by the PNV, will approve a new Law of Official Secrets, will modify the regulatory law of the CNI and its judicial control. Sánchez has also anticipated that the new director of the CNI, Esperanza Casteleiro, will be able to attend Congress “normally” to give an account of the central guidelines for her actions.
The PP spokeswoman, Cuca Gamarra, has branded the president’s announcements as “flares” and, in response to the allusions he made to the corruption of the popular, has reminded him of the ERE case and the convictions of two former PSOE presidents , Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán.
Gamarra has insisted that the espionage on the independence leaders was known to Sánchez, whom he has accused of trying to cover up the case by announcing that his own telephone had been attacked with Pegasus in “an unprecedented exercise of weakness and irresponsibility.” The PP spokeswoman has asked him to clarify what material was stolen from his phone and if this poses a threat to the country’s security.
The popular have already registered the request for a new call of the Official Secrets Commission to clarify all these doubts. Gamarra has reproached the president for being very concerned about a 1968 law, such as the Official Secrets Law, and not one from 1870, such as the Pardon Law, which has allowed him to annul the prison sentences imposed on secessionist leaders for sedition and embezzlement. .
The leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, has stressed that “nothing” is believed in Sánchez’s explanations. He even doubts that he could really be spied on with the Pegasus program. Because he considers that he has been showing that he “has no scruples to lie.” In addition to accusing him of being an “autocrat” and a liar, Abascal has placed all the critical burden on the fact that the president has dedicated himself to “criminalizing” the CNI and its director throughout this crisis, “those who protect us,” he said, while that the Government “associates itself with those who attack us”, the Catalan and Basque separatists (ERC and EH Bildu).
At the gates of the Andalusian campaign, Abascal has taken advantage of the context to send a message to the “incautious right” of the PP and to reproach Feijóo for dedicating himself to giving “an oxygen ball” to the Government when he offers pacts and agreements, as to renew the CGPJ. “No collaborationism with this government is acceptable”, “let’s not give this government even water”, “infinite distance”, the leader of Vox has claimed to the PP.
United We Can, on this occasion, has chosen to criticize the Government very lightly, describing the espionage on the independentistas as “an attack on democracy”. Nothing more. His spokesperson, Jaume Asens, has preferred to dedicate a good part of his interruption to attacking the PP for all kinds of issues, mainly for having supported the emeritus king, Juan Carlos I, during his visit to Spain.
Asens has blurred the shot by attacking Vox and its proposal to “distribute weapons” to citizens and against ERC for having voted on several occasions against the government’s initiatives. The UP spokesman ended his intervention by describing Sánchez’s announcements of reform of the CNI as “courageous” and only urged her to advance “in the territorial agenda and in that of democratic regeneration.”
Ciudadanos has accused the Prime Minister of being a “demolition ball for State institutions.” Inés Arrimadas has assured that the Government “commits infamies” and has cited as examples the colonization of Justice, the ignoring of Congress or the dismissal of the director of the CNI.
The leader of Cs has branded as “obscene” the press conference of the Minister of the Presidency Félix Bolaños revealing that the president’s telephone had been spied on and thus revealing a “gap in state security”.
Arrimadas has called for an urgent reform of the CNI law to accurately assess the causes of dismissal of the head of the intelligence services so that Sánchez cannot simply proceed with dismissals such as that of Paz Esteban.
The PNV has referred in the plural to “the espionage” and its spokesman, like some of its predecessors, has expressed doubts about whether or not Sánchez knew the facts. Both hypotheses are “disturbing” for Aitor Esteban. The spokesman has described as “truly serious” that the judge who must authorize the actions of the CNI did not know specifically the actions and the means that the intelligence service carried out in its investigation of the independentistas.
This is why the PNV has proposed that the control of the CNI be carried out by three Supreme Court magistrates in a collegiate manner and that this include precise knowledge of the means that will be used in the proceedings and that these are also subject to control once time finished.
Esteban has asked Sánchez to also report on the espionage on his own telephone and he has also expressed his doubts about the announcement made by the Government just after it became known that the CNI had spied on the independentistas.
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