Senate asks interior min for explanation after wife of senator has phone hacked

The head of the Senate, Poland’s upper house of parliament, has asked the interior minister to explain the circumstances that led to the phone of a senator’s wife being hacked so it could send bomb threats.

Police in the northern province of Kujawsko-Pomorskie have launched an investigation after hackers broke into a phone belonging to an attorney’s office run by Dorota Brejza, the wife of Krzysztof Brejza, a senator for the Civic Colition (KO) opposition grouping.

After gaining control of the telephone, the hackers used it to send out bomb threats to hospitals in the region.

In a letter demanding an explanation sent to Mariusz Kaminski, the interior minister, Tomasz Grodzki said that it appeared the hacking was related to a recent spyware scandal involving the Polish government.

The government is facing allegations that the security services may have used sophisticated Pegasus spyware, made by an Israeli company, to hack into mobile phones belonging to people connected to the opposition, including Krzysztof Brejza.

According to Grodzki, the hacking of Dorota Brejza's telephone was a move to discredit her husband.

"It is difficult not to link this to recent reports about the use by the security services controlled by you (Kaminski – PAP) of advanced spyware against her husband," Grodzki wrote, adding that this kind of harassment was "unacceptable in a democratic, law-abiding country."

Government denials of its alleged involvement in the affair have failed to quell suspicions because Pegasus is sold only to governments and security services, and is specifically designed for use against criminals and terrorists.

Asked about the matter, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's governing Law and Justice party, admitted recently that Poland had the system, but denied its use against the apparent victims.

On Thursday a special Senate commission opened an inquiry into the spyware affair.