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Government files report after cyber-attack on National Consultation website

National security committee meeting on Pegasus lacks quorum

A meeting of parliament's national security committee, scheduled to be held behind closed doors to discuss issues around the Pegasus spyware, failed to reach quorum as deputies of the ruling parties stayed away.

Janos Stummer, the head of the committee for opposition Jobbik, Socialist MP Zsolt Molnar and LMP’s Peter Ungar had talks with Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, who was to participate in the aborted meeting, and informed him that the committee would launch a comprehensive probe into cases when the body had been asked to exempt certain devices from public procurement procedures. Stummer said that if such an appeal had come before the committee in connection with the spyware, “we will find evidence”.

Stummer also said he would convene the committee for the first day of parliament’s autumn session, and proposed setting up a fact-finding investigation in connection with Pegasus.

Referring to earlier press reports suggesting that the government had used Pegasus to spy on journalists, politicians, and other public figures, Stummer said that “the government pretends as if there were no scandal but only scare-mongering, while they are using every means to avoid political responsibility”. He added that ruling Fidesz and the allied Christian Democratic deputies’ absence from the meeting was “sabotage”.

Stummer noted that a parliamentary fact-finding committee could not be set up in the case since the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Investigations of Budapest was investigating the matter, but said that his committee’s opposition members would find out “if such a software was purchased in recent years, and if so, who, when, for what purpose and under what licence had used it”. He added that it must be ensured that such spyware is not applied in future as “it has no place in a country governed by the rule of law”.

Molnar suggested that though the spyware could have been procured legally, “the main question is not its purchase but … if it was abused”. He slammed the ruling parties for staying away, and interpreted their absence as “confirmation that they have something to hide”.

“Truth cannot be obliterated by technical moves such as rendering a committee meeting invalid,” Molnar said, adding that “a definitive solution could be achieved in spring 2022”, referring to the upcoming elections.

Government files report after cyber-attack on National Consultation website

The government is filing a report with the police to investigate a cyber-attack committed against the website of its National Consultation survey, the official website said on Monday.

The perpetrators used bots to fill in scores of questionnaires, the website said.

“We find it unacceptable that certain players are trying to make the dialogue on post-pandemic life impossible. The minimum wage hike, tax returns for families, loan moratoriums and child protection are issues that affect millions of Hungarians, which is why we encourage everyone to speak their minds,” the website said.


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