Kaczynski says Pegasus spyware was not used against opposition

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, the dominant party in the governing coalition, has confirmed that Poland possesses Israeli-made Pegasus spyware but has dismissed accusations that it was used against opposition figures as "complete nonsense."

Kaczynski's comments come in the wake of allegations that the Pegasus spyware was used to hack the phones of three people, including a senator who at the time of the attack was head of an election campaign for the Civic Coalition, the main opposition grouping.

In an interview published by "Sieci" weekly on Monday, Kaczynski said: "It would not be a good thing for the Polish (security - PAP) services to not have this type of tool. Almost everyone agrees that certain criminal groups must be monitored, that crime must be combated and that surveillance tools are used for these purposes all over the world, of course, when there are legal grounds to do so and when they are under the control of the court and the prosecutor's office."

"In Poland, the system of supervision over these kinds of activity is among the strictest in Europe," added the deputy prime minister.

"The stories about thousands of phones being allegedly checked are totally unreal. The opposition's accounts about the use of Pegasus for political purposes are complete nonsense," he said.

In late December, the US news agency Associated Press reported that a specialist IT department at the University of Toronto had confirmed that Pegasus spyware had been used to hack the mobile phones of three opposition figures.

Along with the senator, the other apparent victims were a prominent lawyer and government critic, and a prosecutor who launched an investigation into a botched 2020 postal presidential election that cost taxpayers millions of zlotys.