The Spanish Congress's procedural body, the Bureau, with the votes of its Socialist (PSOE), Popular Party (PP) and far-right Vox members, has rejected a proposal by the pro-independence parties to create a commission of inquiry into the role of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) in the terror attacks of August 17th, 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils. In accordance with the criteria of the lawyers and the precedents (a similar initiative was vetoed years ago), the Bureau rejected the initiative, recalling that parliamentary checks on the activities of the intelligence service, in accordance with the law, take place behind closed doors in a specific commission, as these matters are classified as secret.
On January 12th, the four Catalan pro-independence parties represented in Madrid, ERC, Junts, PDeCAT and the CUP, together with the Basque party Bildu, registered the initiative in which they asked the Spanish parliament to open a commission of inquiry, following ex-police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo's statement in his own corruption trial that the attacks on Catalonia were the result of a "serious mistake" by the then-CNI director, Félix Sanz Roldán. The initiative called on the lower house to investigate the relationship between the Ripoll imam who was the mastermind of the attacks, Abdelbaki Es Satty, and the Spanish intelligence agency, as well as clarifying the remuneration (if any), duration and final object of the said relationship, as well as for the correlation of errors in the chain of communication and coordination between the police forces in relation to the Ripoll imam.
In addition, they wanted to analyze the actions of the Spanish interior ministry and the surveillance that was made of Es Satty knowing that he was related to jihadi movements; to clarify the involvement, participation or omission of the CNI with respect to the attacks; to propose appropriate prevention and control measures for police informers; and to establish what the political and other responsibilities were in the attacks.
Appearances of Sánchez and Marlaska, rejected
In addition, Villarejo's court revelations led the Catalan parties ERC and Junts to also request the parliamentary appearance on the matter by the Spanish PM, Pedro Sánchez; the interior minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska; and the aforementioned former head of the Spanish secret services. However, representatives of the PSOE, the PP and Vox in the Bureau threw out the commission of inquiry and the requests for explanations on this matter, alleging that this is classified information, as confirmed to Europa Press by parliamentary sources. Unidas Podemos, for its part, supported the calls, defending the need for transparency.
In February 2018, ERC and PDeCAT had already asked for the creation of a commission of inquiry into the CNI's work in the Catalonia attacks, but the Bureau, then chaired by PP leader Ana Pastor, vetoed the initiative, alleging that this issue is a matter of national security that must be resolved in the closed commission that controls the activities of the Spanish intelligence agency.