Sanchez strikes the head of the CNI to appease the Left

Pedro Sánchez's strategy to try to avoid the impasse to which the espionage scandal pushes Pere Aragonès and other pro-independence leaders yesterday faced its most delicate chapter and, probably, the most decisive for the course of events.

Sanchez strikes the head of the CNI to appease the Left

Pedro Sánchez's strategy to try to avoid the impasse to which the espionage scandal pushes Pere Aragonès and other pro-independence leaders yesterday faced its most delicate chapter and, probably, the most decisive for the course of events. The dismissal of the director of the CNI, Paz Esteban -despite the fierce resistance put up by the Defense Minister, Margarita Robles-, yesterday culminated the script twist promoted a week ago, when Moncloa revealed that Sánchez and Robles had also been spied on , in May and June 2021, without detection until now, with the Pegasus program, just like the independentistas.

The National Cryptologic Center (CCN) – the CNI agency responsible for cybersecurity – completed the examination of the phones of all the ministers, and confirmed that the cell phone of the head of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was also infected by Pegasus, also in June of 2021. The telephone number of the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, suffered another attack on the same date, although in his case it failed. The volume of data stolen from Marlaska was enormous –6.3 gigabytes and 400 megabytes in two attacks–, the largest of all those detected.

These attacks, along with the one that the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Fernández Laya, also suffered in May 2021, occurred in the midst of the crisis with Morocco. Precisely Planas was ambassador in Rabat during almost the entire mandate of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. But the Government, now in the process of rebuilding relations with Morocco, does not want to look at anyone. The State Attorney will transfer the new reports from the CCN to the National Court, to expand their complaint, and it will be up to Judge José Luis Calama to try to find out who was responsible for the espionage.

The serious security breach in the Government is the framework in which the dismissal of the head of the CNI agreed by the Council of Ministers is sought to be registered, as an escape valve for the espionage scandal that threatens the course of the legislature. The Minister of Defense herself was in charge of announcing what she did not want to describe as a dismissal, but rather as a mere replacement at the head of the secret service. Robles avoided expressly endorsing the decision, which she could not argue beyond that it is intended to "give a new impetus" to the CNI. But Robles did claim as his own the decision to appoint her right-hand man in the Ministry of Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro, as Paz Esteban's replacement. And, despite the clash with the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, she stressed that her position is not in question. “I have the full confidence of the Prime Minister. I have been working with him for many years, I know him, admire him and respect him. And that is something that no one is going to be able to take away from me, ”she warned.

Sánchez will now try to fix the broken dishes in an upcoming appointment with Aragonès, to try to close a high-voltage crisis, despite the fact that Esquerra still sees his reaction as insufficient and United We Can insist on targeting Robles' head. And all this, moreover, under the heavy artillery fire that the PP already began to fire at him yesterday, at the gates of the elections in Andalusia.


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