The Kremlin mole: the precedent of the Government to reveal the Pegasus cars

It was January 2010. The Madrid Provincial Court agreed to hold a trial behind closed doors. In the dock of the accused sat the spy of the National Intelligence Center Roberto Flórez. The oral hearing was held without the presence of the public or the media so as not to harm national security. The reason: among the evidence that had to be assessed was documentation protected by the Official Secrets Law, including records from the Supreme Court authorizing wiretaps to the intelligence services, which it was necessary to declassify.

At that time, the Government agreed after requesting “that the highest degree of protection and procedural reservation that by its nature can be adopted be agreed.” part of those cars included entire paragraphs crossed out. Something similar to what happened with the documentation on the wiretapping authorization for 18 pro-independence supporters that the members of the congressional secrets commission were able to consult behind closed doors. After the dismissal of Paz Esteban, the Executive has opened the door to declassify the complete documents if requested by a judge. The precedents are almost non-existent and the case of Flórez is one of the few that the magistrates consulted remember.

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Former agent Flórez was arrested in July 2007 and accused of selling classified information to the Russian secret service between 2001 and 2004. Among the declassified documentation were, in addition to the records, the main evidence against him. A letter that was located in the records of his home and in which offered to collaborate with the Moscow secret services supplying confidential information in exchange for the collection of 200,000 dollars.

As various media outlets reported at the time, the key letter was addressed to a Russian diplomat who served as his liaison. The spy also kept the data of dozens of his Spanish companions, with their names and surnames, positions and destinations. In the purest cinematographic style. It was that information that sold Moscow. Flórez was sentenced in the first instance to 12 years for a crime of treason, an accusation for which there was hardly any precedent. The only one was the case of ex-Colonel Juan Alberto Perote due to wiretapping by CESID. In 2010, the Supreme Court reduced the sentence to nine years.

The government’s position

After the height of the political crisis opened by Pegasus wiretapping, the Government began to assess the possibility of give in to one of the ERC claims: the declassification of the judicial decisions in which the Supreme Court judge in charge of CNI affairs authorized its use and explained the reasons why he agreed to its use. The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, was publicly in favor of lifting the reservation.

After the height of the political crisis, the Government began to assess the possibility of giving in to one of ERC’s demands

Among those spied on by the CNI would be both the current president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, whose terminal was seized on the suspicion that he could use that telephone to give instructions to members of the Defense Committees of the Republic (CDR). Also included were the deputies Míriam Nogueras, Albert Botran and Carles Riera; the spokesperson for Ómnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri; the three ‘engineers’ of Tsunami Democràtic, Elies Campo, Jordi Baylina and Pau Escrich, and people close to Carles Puigdemont.

Regarding the rest of the alleged spies that appeared on the list published by the ‘New Yorker’ and Citizen Lab —which raise the number of those affected to more than 60— and the ‘pricks’ to the telephones of Sánchez and Robles, the CNI has disregarded and would have pointed to two possible ways: a foreign nation or State agencies that “spy beyond their legal possibilities”, according to the version of the ERC spokesman, Gabriel Rufián.

It was January 2010. The Madrid Provincial Court agreed to hold a trial behind closed doors. In the dock of the accused sat the spy of the National Intelligence Center Roberto Flórez. The oral hearing was held without the presence of the public or the media so as not to harm national security. The reason: among the evidence that had to be assessed was documentation protected by the Official Secrets Law, including records from the Supreme Court authorizing wiretaps to the intelligence services, which it was necessary to declassify.

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