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Ex-police commissioner breaks silence on spy scandal: ‘No connection to reality’

Former police chief Roni Alsheich denies illicit use of spyware by police during his term, in a video statement on February 9, 2022. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Former police chief Roni Alsheich denies illicit use of spyware by police during his term, in a video statement on February 9, 2022. (Channel 12 screenshot)

Former Israel Police commissioner Roni Alsheich makes his first statement on the bombshell scandal in which police allegedly used spyware to hack the phones of officials, activists and private citizens without judicial approval.

In a video statement, Alsheich says that once the Calcalist newspaper published its list of names on Monday that it alleged were hacked by police, “I have no doubt that the story that was published has no connection to reality.”

If the report was true, it would constitute a shocking blow to Israeli democracy.” But he says, he is not surprised to see that a probe into the report has found “no evidence” of such targeting, using NSO’s Pegasus or any other such software, “of people who were not suspected by police of criminal wrongdoing.”

Alsheich adds that “the enormous damage done to the police requires clearer answers from all the bodies and people involved.”

The former police chief, who served during the period in which many of the hacks allegedly took place, derides the dismissal he says greeted the initial internal police investigation of the issue.

“I am convinced that they investigated with clean hands.”

An internal police probe presented to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday claimed that — of the 26 names published by Calcalist — just three were targeted by police spyware and only one was successfully hacked.

Following the original Calcalist report exposing alleged police use of spyware, the Israel Police originally denied that such actions ever took place, before later admitting to some instances.

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