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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pegasus, surveillance. A new team established in the National Prosecutor's Office

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Adam Bodnar established an investigative team at the National Prosecutor's Office to investigate the use of Pegasus by the services. It is composed of five prosecutors. The scope of proceedings in the case was also extended.

Thus – as announced in a message on the PK website – the team in the Masovian Branch Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the PK, which had been working for two months and dealing with the Pegasus case, was dissolved.

“All materials collected in the course of the proceedings conducted so far in the Masovian Branch Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the PK will be handed over to the head of the investigative team within three days,” said the spokeswoman of the Prosecutor General, Prosecutor General Anna Adamiak.

At the same time, she informed that Attorney Józef Gacek had been appointed as the head of the team dealing with this matter at the PK. She added that the prosecutor is also responsible for cooperation with the parliamentary investigative committee dealing with the Pegasus case. “The team included five experienced prosecutors with extensive professional experience in handling cases in which operational techniques were used,” said prosecutor Adamiak.

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At the same time, Bodnar's order on Monday, as communicated by prosecutor Adamiak, extends the scope of the proceedings.

Investigation into “excess of powers or failure to fulfill obligations”

The investigation into the use of Pegasus currently concerns – as prosecutor Adamiak said – the issue of “exceeding powers or failing to fulfill duties by public officials performing operational activities by unlawfully initiating them and using the Pegasus program, as well as unlawful use of materials.”

Moreover, the proceedings concern taking illegal actions “aiming at unjustified use of the Pegasus program against specific persons for reasons other than prevention, detection, identification of perpetrators, as well as obtaining and recording evidence in the field of intentional crimes prosecuted by public prosecution.”

The investigation also examines “irregularities in actions undertaken by public officials constituting an abuse of powers or failure to fulfill obligations in connection with allowing the use of the Pegasus program as a means of implementing operational control, as well as misleading other authorities in order to use it in specific cases.”

Investigators' actions in the Pegasus case

In this case, Bodnar initially – on February 20 – appointed the Masovian Branch of the Department for Organized Crime and Corruption to conduct all proceedings regarding the examination of the legality, correctness and advisability of using the Pegasus software. “At the initial stage, the team will investigate all notifications from across the country regarding the use of the Pegasus software,” it was reported in February.

READ MORE: Not only Pegasus. How many people did the services surveil in 2023?

Next, the National Prosecutor's Office announced that the investigation into the abuse of powers and failure to fulfill duties by public officials – in the period from November 7, 2017 to December 31, 2022 in Warsaw and other places in the country, while using software as part of operational and reconnaissance activities Pegasus was formally launched on March 18 this year.

On April 10, it was revealed that prosecutors had issued summonses to appear in the prosecutor's office for the first 31 people suspected of being under surveillance with Pegasus, and these people would be questioned as witnesses.

Operational control covered almost 600 people

According to the information from the Prosecutor General sent to the Sejm and Senate last week, operational control using Pegasus covered 578 people in the years 2017-2022. The largest number of people were covered by it in 2021 – 162. It was reported that operational control using Pegasus was used by three services.

– There were three services. Central Anticorruption Bureau, Military Counterintelligence Service and Internal Security Agency – said Bodnar. He added that when it comes to the police, they also used Pegasus, but – as the prosecutor general informed – “they did not use it individually, but each time asked the CBA for support.”

Former head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, when asked about operational inspections using Pegasus, assured that all requests were carried out with the court's consent.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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