Can the Government know methods such as espionage used by the CNI in its investigations?

“The Government neither knows nor should know.” Moncloa spread this message this Thursday to disassociate himself from espionage to the president from Catalonia, Pere Aragones. The confirmation of the telephone punctures, through a court order, came from the National Intelligence Center (CNI), according to sources from the Secrets Commission held in Congress. The political storm increased and the Government of Pedro Sanchez He tried to stop it by clarifying the procedure in relations between the Executive and the intelligence services. Could or should the president who was being investigated really know, and in this way, the Catalan leader? Those affected by pegasus case they want political responsibility to be assumed.

Moncloa’s argument in a nutshell, according to the sources consulted by Publicthe thing is the CNI does not report to the Presidency of the Government how the processes are carried out in their investigations and that they only report the results when they are finished if there is a security risk. They point out that neither the CNI asks the Government for permission, nor does the Government give orders to the CNI. It would be the judge who decides whether or not to authorize these wiretaps.

Sources that have been part of a cabinet of the Presidency of the Government point out to this medium that there only “reports arrived with the result of some investigations carried out.” “There was no type of data on the means that had been used to get those results. I understand that the procedure is internal to the CNI”, they affirm. To the Presidency, therefore, they assure that the final result arrives “if there is something to tell”.

Juan Rando is a former agent of the CNI and the former CESID. He is now a reputed criminal attorney. “Indeed, the Government not only does not have to know, but never knows. The Government receives the result of a job, nothing more. But of course no Government receives the procedure by which a conclusion has been reached. Not only would it not interest him, but it would help confuse him,” he explains in conversation with this medium.

A former CNI agent confirms that the Government only receives the results of investigations

“That the Government had to know the procedure would imply the possibility for the Government to analyze whether the procedure followed to reach a conclusion is adequate or inappropriate,” adds Rando. “The mission entrusted to the CNI is deliver results so that the Government, in this case the minister, agrees with the body to the extent that it has confidence in the management”, he highlights.

Another source, with military rank and knowledgeable about the intelligence services, also corroborates this way of proceeding. “One thing is the thematic objectives and the risks, and another is the internal procedures and the request or not of judicial orders by the CNI”, she affirms. In other words, the Government could indeed know that the independence movement was being investigated, specifically because of the so-called Democratic Tsunami.

But it does not have to be that way necessarily, adds this specialist. The law itself already includes a series of functions. Specifically, they are to “provide the President of the Government and the Executive with the information, analyses, studies or proposals that allow preventing and avoiding any danger, threat or aggression against the independence or territorial integrity of Spainnational interests and the stability of the rule of law and its institutions”.

That mention of territorial integrity could serve to judicially justify the wiretapping. The Government’s intelligence objectives are reflected in the so-called Intelligence Directivewhich is secret.

Ministry of Defense, political and parliamentary control

The CNI has always belonged organically to the Ministry of Defense. There was an exception between 2011 and 2018, a period in which it came to report directly to the Presidency with Soraya Sáez de Santamaría. In its regulations, the mention of a body called Government Delegate Commission for Intelligence Affairs. According to the documents, he would be in charge of “coordinating the actions of the CNI, the information services of the State Security Corps and Forces and the civil and military administration bodies.”

In this commission, according to its regulations, they would be present at least, in addition to the Director of the CNI, the three vice presidents, the foreign and interior ministers, the defense minister, the secretary of state for security and the general secretary of the Presidency of the Government. But that commission has not met for more than a year, as confirmed by this medium.

The CNI is subject to parliamentary and budgetary control. It is through the Reserved Expenses Commission, which has been blocked since the beginning of the legislature by the vetoes of parties such as the PP to EH Bildu. After the modification of the norm by the Presidency of Congress, it was launched. In that space appeared on Thursday the director of the CNI, Peace Stephen. According to what transpired, despite the secret nature of the commission, Esteban showed the judicial authorizations of some espionage. Of others that appear in different information nothing was known.

While, Sánchez and Aragonès have agreed to meet to talk about pegasus case. The degree of knowledge that Moncloa had or not about his espionage will surely be one of the issues that they will discuss between the two. From ERC other groups have directly requested that the president assume some political responsibility within the Executive. That is to say, that the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, politically responsible for the intelligence services, come out, and that the circumstances in which the judicial authorizations were requested be clarified.


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