The Government declassifies the orders that authorized the use of Pegasus in the vice president of the Generalitat
The National Intelligence Center (CNI) obtained the approval of the Supreme Court to infiltrate the communications of Pere Aragonès, the vice president of the Generalitat and leader of ERC. This is revealed by the three orders that the Government sent this Thursday to the judge investigating the Pegasus case, after his insistence. The documents, which have censored parts, explain the reason that led the CNI to spy on Aragonès: according to the intelligence service, Aragonès was the “clandestine” person in charge of the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR).
This is the first time that the reasons that justified the CNI infiltrations have been known, thanks to a judicial investigation initiated by the complaint of those affected by Pegasus. The computer program allows access to all the data and conversations on the spy’s mobile phone. The Supreme Court judge in charge of supervising the actions of the CNI gave the first endorsement of the espionage of Aragonès on July 24, 2019. Three months later, on October 21, in the midst of the mobilizations against the procés sentence, he authorized an extension in espionage. The last authorization was three months later, on January 14, 2020. Aragonès has always denounced that he was spied on for political reasons.
Aragonès, in front of the CDRs according to the CNI
Judicial sources have informed elDiario.es that the explanation contained in the Supreme Court’s rulings for spying on Aragonès is that the ERC leader, who at that time was the vice president of the Government, “directed the actions of the CDR”, the groups citizens who were born in 2017 to defend the 1-O schools from police interventions and who later organized several street demonstrations.
The information provided by the CNI to the Supreme Court judge who had to approve the measures that represent a violation of the fundamental rights of those spied on represents the first time that an official instance links Aragonès with the CDR. At that time, ERC had already renounced the unilateral route and confrontations with the then president, Quim Torra, were frequent in the Government. In fact, in 2017 Aragonès did not participate in the organization of the referendum because ERC wanted to preserve his leadership in the event of disqualification of its leaders, as would happen with Oriol Junqueras.
In one of the records, according to the judicial sources consulted, it can be read that “Aragonès, always outside of his institutional role and in hiding, has continued to exercise the functions of coordinator of the CDR.” The documents also request the use of Pegasus in Aragonès “not because of his status as vice president of the Generalitat, but because of the work of directing and coordinating the activities of the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR).”
The former director of the CNI, accused of the Pegasus case, testifies this Friday
The delivery of the Supreme Court’s records to the court occurs a few hours after the statement this Friday of the former director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, until now the only government position charged in the Pegasus case and who was removed from her position in 2021 as a result of the demands of ERC to the Government of Pedro Sánchez to close the crisis opened by espionage.
After learning the content of the files, sources from the central government have indicated that these are “operations initiated by the CNI” before the arrival of the PSOE to the Government, although in the case of Aragonès the center’s request to use Pegasus and the endorsement of the Supreme Court already occurred with Pedro Sánchez as president.
The same sources have added that “neither the CNI nor the Supreme Court have to inform, logically, the Government”, and have highlighted that it was this Government that “has decided to collaborate with Justice” in the Aragonès case. According to the Executive, the sending of the records to the judge “demonstrates that the rule of law now works and acts with transparency.” “Nothing to do with the parallel police and the dirty war of the PP era,” added government sources.
Incomplete cars with deleted parts
The records are the only documents that the judge and the rest of the parties in the case will have at their disposal to question Esteban. Furthermore, the three resolutions are not complete, since the Government has deleted several fragments of the records. This was announced by the Government to the judge in the agreement to declassify the records “with the express concealment of the parts thereof that lead to knowledge of CNI means or procedures.”
It was the same argument that the Government used to refuse to provide the judge with information about who in the CNI decided to purchase Pegasus and where the data on the spying on Aragonès was kept. According to the Government, providing this data could put CNI sources at risk.
“Recognizing and revealing the existence of certain means or specific procedures – the Council of Ministers’ arguments deepened to refuse to remove the secrecy of everything requested by the judge – would irreparably and essentially harm the operation of the CNI, producing a danger to the security of Spain and its citizens.”
It remains to be seen the reaction of the judge and of Aragonès’ defense, which is carried out by criminal lawyer Andreu Van Eynde, since of all the extensive requests to clarify the espionage, only a limited response has been obtained from the Government. And even the three documents sent are incomplete.
Apart from reiterating requests for declassification, Van den Eynde already pointed out in his complaint that, if it is confirmed that the Supreme Court endorsed the use of Pegasus in Aragonès, he could accuse the High Court magistrate in charge of controlling the CNI, Pablo Lucas, of prevarication, because, According to the lawyer, “there can be no justification for the use of absolute monitoring software.”