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Interior Minister will only answer questions on Pegasus in closed session

picture of Sándor Pintér

Sándor Pintér (pictured) gave a detailed report on the annual work of the national security services at a meeting of Parliament’s National Security Committee on Thursday. According to the Minister of the Interior, the services perform their duties flawlessly and conduct their work professionally and efficiently.

Counter-espionage was busy last year, he said, the National Security Service took significant steps in the field of cyber defense, and the Counterterrorism Center prevented seven attacks in 2020, but it also took part in several international missions.

Regarding the security of Hungary’s electoral system, the Interior Minister said that elections are paper-based in Hungary, making IT attacks on the system impossible. Moreover, parties are also present when counting the votes.

Pintér therefore expects secure and democratic elections in Hungary. He called the election a celebration of democracy, and promised that police would be unarmed while performing their service next April.

The Minister of the Interior was also asked about László Kövér’s leaked speech to senior intelligence officials last year, in which the House Speaker had called the opposition a risk to national security. Pintér said intelligence services report semi-annually on national security risks, and so far no such information had emerged on the opposition or on any opposition MPs.

Ágnes Vadai, Member of Parliament from the Democratic Coalition, asked Minister Pintér several questions about the Pegasus spyware scandal. However, Pintér stated that as it concerned classified information, he would only be willing to respond to her questions in a closed session.

However, in order for Vadai to be able to attend the committee’s closed meeting, the board had to take a vote on it. After a lengthy debate, four Fidesz members of the committee voted it down, and three opposition MPs, including János Stummer, chairman of the committee, indicated that there was no point in holding a closed session and ended the proceedings.

[Telex]

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