Dorota Brejza, lawyer and wife of Krzysztof Brejza, who, according to a group of researchers from Citizen Lab, was under surveillance with Pegasus before the parliamentary elections in 2019, told what their family’s life was like in the shadow of wiretapping. – We closed the door to the house in the evening and talked about it. We are just like everyone else. We have our emotions, we have our sensitivity. Many times I couldn’t believe that such harm could be done to another person, said Dorota Brejza.
A group of researchers from Citizen Lab, operating at the University of Toronto, determined that Krzysztof Brejza was surveilled with Pegasus 33 times before elections parliamentary elections in 2019. The organization also confirmed the hacking of the Civic Platform’s smartphone Amnesty International.
Journalists of “Superwizjer” TVN in the report “Operation codename Lizard” established that despite the use of Pegasus, CBA found no evidence of financial crimes involving Brejza, and this was the pretext the service included in applications for operational control sent to the courts.
Dorota Brejza, a lawyer and Krzysztof Brejza’s wife, was a guest in the “Superwizjer” TVN studio after the reportage was broadcast.
“The messages were manipulated, falsified and glued together”
When asked if she remembered when she realized that her husband’s phone was being tapped, Dorota Brejza replied that she remembered it perfectly. – I remember this moment perfectly, it was August 2019, the very peak of the election campaign. Then, messages from my husband’s phone began to appear on the public television screen. Messages that were manipulated, falsified, glued together, with a new, unfortunately negative context added – said the politician’s wife.
– I think I was at home at that moment. First, an article was published, then this article was reproduced many times (…) then I knew that something very bad must have happened, that the security of my husband’s phone had been broken, because his phone was never secured in any proceedings, he never shared it phone to anyone, and yet the content from it appeared on TV – said Brejza.
– The fact that it was a tool like Pegasus, a cyberweapon illegal in Poland, we learned about it a little later, because Citizen Lab conducted forensic tests of my husband’s phone, later they were also confirmed by Amnesty International’s research and it was already clear then that that it was Pegasus – described the MEP’s wife.
“The scale of the hate campaign was huge”
She pointed out that the case did not only affect her marriage, but “the entire opposition”. – The scale of the hate campaign during the election period was huge. Although it was personally aimed at my husband, please remember that at that time my husband was the chief of staff of the largest opposition group, the Civic Coalition. It was a campaign that was essentially aimed at the entire opposition at that time. This is a story that the special services, the prosecutor’s office and government television tried to influence the election results, she said.
As Dorota Brejza said, the services intercepted several dozen thousand text messages from her husband’s phone. – The scale was huge. We found out later what content had been obtained and it was devastating. They obtained 85,000 text messages from my husband’s phone, access to his location over several years, access to his photo gallery, his calendar, his entire internet search history, and all our possible privacy, she explained.
– Pegasus is a spy tool. This is a cyber weapon that was designed to use this weapon to fight terrorism, the most serious, the most dangerous crime. This is the idea of this tool. Indeed, he has such spy functions. You can turn on the camera and listen in real time, but, what’s more, it is also a device that can upload specific data to the phone, she said.
– Over a gigabyte of data was uploaded (to my husband). Moreover, it is impossible to distinguish the data that originally comes from the phone from those uploaded by Pegasus, the lawyer said. She explained that the damaged record could have played an important role. – It most likely contains the original recording of my husband’s phone. By comparing this disc, which was destroyed, with subsequent discs, it would be possible to know which data was uploaded to this phone and which was not – she explained, emphasizing that Pegasus is an illegal tool and is, in fact, a spy tool.
Brejza: a devastating feeling, I don’t wish anyone to be in such a situation
The lawyer admitted that it was a difficult experience for her family. – It is an absolutely devastating feeling and I do not wish anyone to be in the situation we found ourselves in at that time. It was obvious that this content reached all people. When I left the house, I had to face my thoughts first and foremost – whether other people had watched these materials, what they thought. For a long time I didn’t know whether I should explain that it was untrue or whether I should say nothing. Should I shut up or should I fight? It was a very poignant, difficult, I might even say borderline experience that we experienced together, she said.
– We closed the door to the house in the evening and talked about it. We are just like everyone else. We have our emotions, we have our sensitivity. Many times I couldn’t believe that such harm could be done to another person – added Brejza.
When asked if she kept putting the phone down while talking to her husband, she said they were trying to “maintain some kind of normality.” – Ultimately, we never fell into any paranoia, we wanted to maintain some kind of normality (…) We never wanted our lives to be drastically changed by this story, but they were. This story has refurbished our lives in recent years. However, we did not want to become paranoid. These phones are always there somewhere, they are there and I really hope that this history will not repeat itself – said Dorota Brejza.
“What happened to us was a borderline experience”
– The view of the world is definitely changing. I can confidently say that what happened to us was a borderline experience, very, very difficult. I learned a lot about the world after this case. I learned that there is a lot of evil that can happen to a person (…) I also learned that behind such a difficult and borderline experience is usually loneliness and that only another person who experiences the same thing can really understand a person in this situation – admitted Krzysztof Brejza’s wife.
She added that she and her husband also experienced a lot of support during the election campaign last year. – Paradoxically, a lot of good things happened to us, a lot of solidarity. We experienced a lot of support from all kinds of people during the election campaign. I have never experienced such energy as we experienced in the 2023 parliamentary campaign, and it was encouraging. I saw that people disagreed with evil, she said.
– This is a story of great wickedness, great evil, great immorality. It is encouraging that we are able to oppose it, she added.
“I can’t answer the question what the real costs were for my children”
Brejza also told how their children – seven-year-old Janek, ten-year-old Rozalia and Mateusz, 14 – had to deal with this situation. – This is a great pain that I have in my heart inside, because our children are small, at a sensitive age. Up to a certain point, I thought I was perfectly capable of protecting them from the various evils of politics, but that ended, she admitted.
She said that she tried to cut off the children from information. – Up to a certain point, you can turn off the TV, cut off the Internet, and stop reading certain content. However, when a child becomes independent and older, he or she naturally searches for something on his or her own. In fact, in this sense, it is very, very difficult to protect children – said Brejza, adding that she does not know and cannot answer the question what costs her children really incurred in connection with this story.
– Because it’s not just the content they read. These are also emotions, this is also experiencing a certain nervousness that we felt at home. Our emotions were so involved in this story. We gave so much of ourselves to this cause that we couldn’t give ourselves to these children at the same time, she said.
– I take comfort in the fact that we teach our children citizenship by showing them with our attitude that we should not agree to evil, that we should react, that we should fight for the truth, that we should be an advocate of truth in our lives. I really hope that in this way we will teach them patriotism – added Dorota Brejza.
Main photo source: TVN24