No need for parliament's probe into spyware case, gov't spokesperson says

The Polish government spokesperson has said there is no reason to create a special body to investigate media reports that opposition figures were spied on with the Pegasus spyware made by Israel's NSO Group.

Piotr Mueller was responding to calls by Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s main opposition party, on Tuesday to set up a parliamentary investigative committee to investigate the use of the spyware, which was allegedly used to hack the mobile phones of some opposition figures.

Last week, the US news agency Associated Press reported that a specialist IT department at the University of Toronto had confirmed that the Pegasus software had been used. The analysts were unable to pinpoint who was behind the spying, but said that NSO Group only sells its software to government agencies.

Pegasus enables people to access mobile devices and allows them to extract passwords, files, photos, browsing history, contacts and identity data.

"I do not see any reasons at this stage as to why a committee in the Sejm (lower house of parliament - PAP) should take over the activities of the de facto prosecutor's office or courts, because these authorities are entitled to investigate, consider and make any decisions as to whether the law in this regard has been broken," Mueller said on Wednesday.

He added that anyone can notify prosecutors if they have any suspicions of illegal activities, however, "within the current Polish legal order, but also within the legal order of other EU countries, it is possible to undertake operational activities with the appropriate consent."

According to Mueller, "for the time being there is more political emotion around this topic than facts confirming that the establishment of such a committee is needed."

In a statement to PAP last week, Stanislaw Zaryn, the director of the National Security Department, called the Associated Press and subsequent Polish media reports unfounded, and said that all surveillance operations in Poland were carried out in keeping with binding laws and regulations.

The known victims of the hacking scandal include Roman Giertych, a former education minister, who has also represented Tusk in his professional capacity as a lawyer, Maria Wrzosek, an independent prosecutor who has voiced opposition to the Polish government's changes of the judicial system, and Krzysztof Brejza, the chief of staff of Civic Coalition, the main opposition grouping.