Breaking: Spain’s government dismisses spy chief over the Pegasus spyware scandal

Spain’s government has dismissed its spy chief over the Pegasus spyware scandal

The Government in Spain has dismissed the Director of the CNI, its spy chief, following the disclosure of the use of the Pegasus spyware to “listen” in on Spanish officials.

The report by El País on Tuesday, May 10 cites unidentified government sources who said that the decision to sack Paz Esteban had been made but that no date had been set.

But those sources now say that the Defence Minister Margarita Robles will appear at a press conference after the Council of Ministers meeting, where she will announce the departure of Esteban.

It is understood that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is keen to draw a line under the issue and to move on, hence the quick decision to remove her from the post.

The decision follows last month’s announcement by Citizen Lab, who said that more than 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement had been targets of “Pegasus” spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group.

Days later, the Spanish government detected the spyware on the mobile phones of Sanchez and Robles.

Esteban was appointed director of the CNI on January 31, 2020. At the time, she was filling in the role on a temporary basis, having replaced General Félix Sanz Roldán whilst a replacement was sought.

She was Roldán’s right hand “woman” before becoming the first woman ever to lead the Spanish secret services.

Esteban has, according to El País already appeared a congressional secrets commission, the results of which were being awaited by the government.

With the report by El País’ sources saying that the Government has dismissed its spy chief over the Pegasus scandal, questions will be asked as to what the commission uncovered as they will be asked about who might be a suitable replacement given the mistrust that now exists.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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