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Poland opposition leader says Pegasus hacking scandal a crisis of democracy

Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s main opposition party, is calling for the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate surveillance after reports that powerful Israeli spyware was used against three people associated with the political opposition.

“This is an unprecedented thing in our history. This is the biggest and deepest crisis of democracy after 1989,” said Tusk, who served as Poland’s prime minister from 2007-2014 and president of the European Council from 2014-2019.

He said that his party would apply for the establishment of a commission of inquiry in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, to examine surveillance with Pegasus, spyware which is made by the NSO Group and sold only to government agencies.

The hacking targeted Krzysztof Brejza, an opposition senator, at a time that he was the party’s election campaign chief of staff in 2019; Roman Giertych, a lawyer who has defended Tusk and several other opposition figures in sensitive cases; and Ewa Wrzosek, a prosecutor who is fighting for the independence of prosecutors as the ruling right-wing party seeks to impose political control over all branches of the judiciary.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki calls the reports of hacking “fake news.”

He said he had no knowledge of any surveillance, but also suggested that if there had been any, it wouldn’t necessarily have been the work of Polish intelligence services. He said there were other security services in the world, some of who are “not entirely friendly toward Poland” and “act very ruthless.”

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