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‘Paralyzed’ probe into Pegasus hacking scandal blasted

Polish opposition accuses prosecutors of failing to investigate “the biggest and deepest crisis of democracy” in decades

A Polish politician has accused prosecutors of refusing to act on his complaint over an alleged hack of his phone, believed to have involved the Pegasus software created by the Israel-based NSO Group.

Lodged back in September, the complaint has passed between prosecutors’ offices around the country like a “hot potato” for months, but has yet to produce a result, Polish centrist Senator Krzysztof Brejza told Reuters on Tuesday.

“The prosecutor’s office is doing nothing, it is paralyzed,” Brejza said. “The prosecutor’s office is playing for time – they do not want to launch an investigation or refuse to launch an investigation, they just treat it as a hot potato that is best to throw somewhere else.”

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The new hacking scandal, linked to the notorious Pegasus spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, erupted in Poland last week, following an explosive report by the Associated Press. Citing findings by the Citizen Lab, a Canada-based internet nonprofit watchdog, the agency reported that at least three Polish opposition figures have been targeted in a massive hacking campaign. 

Brejza’s phone is believed to have been breached at least 33 times in the time leading up to the 2019 parliamentary elections, narrowly won by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party. Damaging texts obtained from the politicians’ phone were leaked to the country’s media and widely publicized. The other two victims of the alleged hack were Ewa Wrzosek – a prosecutor who opposed judicial reforms that got Warsaw embroiled into a bitter row with the EU – and Roman Giertych, a lawyer who repeatedly represented Brejza’s party, the Civic Platform, in high-profile cases.

Responding to the report, Brejza claimed that the leak was extremely damaging to the party’s campaign, implying it might have cost it the race. At the time, the senator was the party’s election campaign chief of staff.

“This operation wrecked the work of staff and destabilized my campaign,” he said. “I don’t know how many votes it took from me and the entire coalition.”

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The Polish government and secret services have vehemently denied any involvement in the alleged cyber attack, with Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki dismissing the reports as “fake news.” At the same time, he pointed the finger at unnamed foreign entities that are “not entirely friendly toward Poland” and might have been behind the hack.

Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for the Minister-Special Services Coordinator, insisted that “any suggestions that the Polish services use operational methods for the sake of political struggle are false.”  He added, however, that the secret services “do not report on the methods of operational work used against specific individuals.”

The country’s opposition was apparently not convinced by the government’s denials. Former EU chief and leader of the Civic Platform Donald Tusk has called for the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the affair, stating on Tuesday that the scandal constitutes the “biggest and deepest crisis of democracy after 1989.” 

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https://ift.tt/3GrP8U4 29, 2021 at 04:29AM
from RT – Daily news

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