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Polish PM dismisses spyware reports as 'fake news'

29.12.2021 10:00
Poland’s prime minister has said he has no knowledge of phone surveillance software allegedly being used against opposition politicians in Poland and warned against what he called “a spiral of fake news.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.PAP/Paweł Supernak

Mateusz Morawiecki made the statement at a news conference on Tuesday in the wake of reports by the Associated Press news agency that in 2019 Krzysztof Brejza, a senior politician with Poland's opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, was hacked with Pegasus spyware from the Israeli firm NSO Group.

Asked if he knew about, or approved, the use of NSO software, Morawiecki said he had “no knowledge” of such eavesdropping methods being employed in his country.

He also said that certain media reports about Pegasus needed to be “corrected” so that “we don’t fall victim to fake news,” Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Morawiecki warned against “practices by certain media outlets” to “create an untrue fact which then everyone assumes to be the reality,” the PAP news agency reported.

“Well, there was no such reality,” Morawiecki told the news conference. 

He added that “even if such facts were to be corroborated, then potentially this may have been the work of various services.”

He voiced his "belief that the relevant authorities will solve this case.”

'Spiral of fake news'

Morawiecki called for “healthy skepticism” in the face of "such reports" so as “not to enter into a spiral of fake news.”  

“There are a multitude of security services in the world and we can’t conclude, on the basis of what we know from one news agency, that certain persons were targeted by Polish [security] services,” Morawiecki said.  

He warned that the security services “of countries which are not entirely friendly towards Poland” are “acting ruthlessly all the time” and this should be kept in mind when encountering “conjectures which shift blame onto Polish [security] services.”

Asked if the government would brief parliament on the Pegasus issue or if a special investigative commission would be set up, Morawiecki replied that Polish security services had already made a statement on the surveillance controversy. 

Meanwhile, opposition leader and former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday said his party would request the establishment of a special parliamentary commission to investigate the use of NSO software, PAP reported. 

According to the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which researches digital surveillance, Brejza’s phone was digitally broken into 33 times between April and October 2019 when he ran his party’s parliamentary election campaign, the AP has reported.

Citizen Lab’s researchers earlier said that former Polish Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych, a prominent lawyer, and prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek had also been put on surveillance with NSO software.

The researchers were unable to identify who was behind the hacks.

A spokesman for Poland’s security services, Stanisław Żaryn, last week denied accusations that the authorities were using illegal surveillance methods for political ends.


Source: PAP