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CNI intelligence chief answers to Congress over NSA spying operations

General Sanz Roldán says he is “99.9- percent sure” Rajoy was not wiretapped by US espionage agency

Félix Sanz Roldán, the director of the CNI national intelligence agency, answered to a closed session of the Committee of Official Secrets in Congress on Wednesday over the alleged mass espionage program carried out in Spain by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

In an appearance lasting over two hours, the chief of Spanish intelligence was grilled by the parliamentary spokespersons for the main political parties.

The spy chief told deputies that the CNI had always acted within the limits of the law and that millions of “metadata” — records of telephone calls, SMS, emails and other communications — handed to the NSA by the CNI were collected in conflict zones outside Spanish territory. Asked if the US had acted illegally on Spanish soil, the spy chief replied that “they follow their own laws,” such as the Patriot Act, which permits actions that would be considered a crime in Spain. Sanz Roldán also assured the committee that he was “99.9-percent certain” that the communications of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had not been tapped.

The leader of the United Left coalition, Cayo Lara, said that “while absolute tranquility will never be achieved,” he was more concerned by the activities of the NSA than the CNI.

Congressional speaker Jesús Posada said the encounter had been “very clarifying and satisfactory,” adding he was “appeased.”

General Sanz Roldán added that 97 percent of world communications pass through fiber optic cables. “If anybody tapped a cable outside of Spain, the CNI would not know about it,” he said.

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