Polish opposition blasts ‘paralyzed’ probe into Pegasus hacking scandal — Analysis

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

An accusation by a Polish politician that prosecutors refused to investigate his complaint about an alleged hack on his phone. The hack was believed to have been done using the Pegasus software, which is owned and operated in Israel by NSO Group.

Lodged back in September, the complaint has passed between prosecutors’ offices around the country like a “hot potato”Polish centerist Senator Krzysztof Beerza said Tuesday that he has not seen any results for the past months.

“The prosecutor’s office is doing nothing, it is paralyzed,”Brejza stated. “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.”

After an explosive report from the Associated Press, the new hacking scandal was linked to the Pegasus spyware that NSO Group in Israel developed. The Citizen Lab is a Canadian-based non-profit watchdog that monitors internet security. It reported that three opposition politicians were targeted by a large hacking operation. 

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.”He also pointed out unnamed foreign entities he believes are at fault. “not entirely friendly toward Poland”They might be behind the hack.

Stanislaw Zaryn was the spokesperson for Minister-Special Service Coordinator. “any suggestions that the Polish services use operational methods for the sake of political struggle are false.” However, he said that secret services were still available. “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. Donald Tusk (former EU chief, leader of Civic Platform) has called for the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate the incident. Tusk stated Tuesday that the scandal is the “evil.” “biggest and deepest crisis of democracy after 1989.” 

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