Hope Casteleiro She is already the new head of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) after this Thursday she took office at the Ministry of Defense. In the front row, Paz Esteban has followed the act, dismissed according to Pedro Sánchez for the punctures with the Pegasus program that the mobile phones of the President of the Government and the ministers Margarita suffered Oak trees (Defense) and Fernando García-Marlaska (Interior). Esteban has not wanted to comment with the journalists on how he has lived these last two weeks. “The past is the past. The important thing is the new director”, he has limited himself to pointing out, slipping away from them.

In their brief speeches, both Casteleiro and Robles have tried to raise the spirits of the 3,000 people who work at the CNI after the two weeks in which they have become news and have also stressed that the replacement at the head of the secret service will not mean any earthquake for the organization. “It is an act of pure continuity, nothing is going to change but a lot is going to change”, said the minister.

The Minister of Defense warns that those who attack Spain “with ‘hacking'” will find themselves facing the CNI, military intelligence and justice

Both Robles and the new director of the CNI have made references to cybersecurity. The first has warned that those who attack Spain “in a sophisticated way with ‘hacking'” will find themselves facing the CNI, military intelligence and justice. For his part, Casteleiro stressed that the “threats to peace, security and democratic coexistence” faced by Spain and its allies require a “new orientation” of the secret services. “Maximum cooperation, transparency and high technological training are needed to provide the necessary protection and security of communications to people in society as a whole”, he declared.

The other appointments

In the ceremony at the Ministry of Defense, the new Secretary of State for Defense, Amparo Valcarce, who rises to that position from that of undersecretary. And that work will be carried out from now on by Adoración Mateos, who has also promised her new position. A domino effect that allows maintaining a “continuist” line, as Mateos Valcarce has also highlighted.

Esteban, very discreet, has entered the room only three minutes before it began and has slipped away at the end, after the photographs with his successor and the rest of the Defense leadership. Robles has barely made direct reference to Esteban. “Peace, dear Peace”, she has told him affectionately when she has referred to the work of the 3,000 people who work in the CNI.

A woman of the house

Casteleiro (Madrid, 1956) joined the Spanish secret services four decades ago, when they were still called CESID. He is someone from the House, as the more than 3,000 men and women who work in that organization refer to the CNI. In fact, she was number two of the spies between 2004 and 2008, with Alberto Saiz as the top boss. In fact, in the summer of 2019, when Félix Sanz Roldán left the position of director, his name already slipped into the pools to replace him.

The new director is a gamble balsamic de Robles to overcome the reputational pothole they have lived through for 10 days, since the Government decided to make it known that Sánchez’s cell phone and that of the Defense Minister herself had been infected by the Pegasus program. Ten days in which all the lights have been on a center that, by definition, has to go unnoticed. Robles knows her very well. First she was her chief of staff as defense minister, then she appointed her secretary of state for her department.

“I am returning to the center where I have developed my career, to which I have willingly given a good part of my life. If I were to be born again, I would not hesitate to repeat this adventure, this itinerary”, Casteleiro said. The new director of the CNI and also the minister have dedicated part of their speeches to highlighting the discreet work of the secret service workers. “They live at the service of the State, they are people with a vocation to serve Spain, highly qualified, completely dedicated to their courage and to carrying out the missions entrusted to them. Discreetly and with the least possible exposure”, Casteleiro underlined in a description that is far from what the CNI has experienced these years.

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“We must know that we are one more piece, because without the effort of each and every one of this gear that does not know names and surnames, from the Chief of Defense Staff to the last soldier or even the last member of the CNI, without the work of that last person, the rest of us could do nothing,” Robles cheered as Defense Minister.

Moncloa’s position

Sánchez assured on Wednesday in the Congress that the dismissal of Esteban was due to the failure of security in the protection of the devices of Sánchez, Robles and also the minister Marlaska (Interior), a statement that is not believed by the right-wing opposition parties, who consider that the Government has sacrificed the head of the spies to try to calm ERC after it has been confirmed that the CNI tapped the cell phones of 18 independence leaders.


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