Thursday, October 6

The Government elevates the disinformation to the category of “threat” for the security of the State

The international scenario caused by Covid-19 has led the Government to approve the 2021 National Security Strategy at the last Council of Ministers of the year. Although it is reviewed every five years, and the last one is from 2017, its review “as a consequence of the experience of managing the pandemic.”

The general lines of the strategy are maintained and the risks for the country are practically the same, although some notable novelties are introduced, such as the importance given to “disinformation campaigns”, which the Government raises to the level of “threat” for the security of the State, or the provisions before another possible pandemic. Likewise, the need for a Comprehensive Security Plan for Ceuta and Melilla is established or the complication of the world geopolitical scenario is confirmed with the growing tensions in the United States and China.

Regarding disinformation, the Executive includes this risk in a list that also includes the classic threats to any State -conflict, terrorism, organized crime, espionage or illegal immigration-, with the most modern that have been introduced in recent years. -climate change, economic instability or vulnerability of cyberspace-.

“Pandemics, climate change, cyberattacks or financial crises are all complex, often interconnected risks and threats that can trigger cascading crises,” the document summarizes.


In 2017, under the government of Mariano Rajoy, a generic allusion to disinformation was made for the first time, describing it as a new “challenge” within the chapter on “transformation of global security.” Now there is a qualitative leap, it is included in the list of threats to the State and it is warned of its “potential dangerousness”.

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The text that the Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday, and whose proposal was reported favorably by the National Security Council on November 18, includes: “It is worth noting the disinformation strategies of foreign actors, both state and non-state, that propaganda apparatus with the intention of polarizing society and undermining its trust in institutions. ”

Neither in the text nor from the Government are these “foreign actors” named, but experts identify Russia and China as the countries that most use these strategies. Even Morocco on occasion.

Proof that these actions of “foreign actors” are worked out, coordinated and are important is that the Spanish Government asks the EU “to assume a greater role when it comes to managing challenges, such as pandemics, international terrorism, cyberattacks or attacks. disinformation campaigns “, because it considers that its orchestration requires collective responses and the integration of capacities.

The Department of National Security has been working for some time to counteract these disinformation campaigns and has detected some relationships with national sovereignty issues, such as foreign interference in Catalonia during October 1 (in November 2017, Spain denounced the existence of Russian and Venezuelan interference in the Catalan crisis) or campaigns against the Covid-19 vaccination.

The report cites as an example that the crisis caused by the pandemic “has been accompanied by a social and political crisis, fueled by disinformation and destabilization campaigns that seek to erode institutions, influence democratic processes and encourage polarization.”

The report distinguishes between disinformation campaigns and fake news: “The campaigns have a clear impact on National Security and must be differentiated from other factors such as false information –fake news– the wrong information –misinformation-. Disinformation campaigns do not necessarily contain fake news, but rather seek to distort reality through manipulated content. “

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The objective, among others, is “to prevent, detect and neutralize covert attacks from abroad, the objective of which is to illegally obtain sensitive information to attack Spain’s international image or carry out interference actions.”

To deal with these external interference, it is committed to developing a National Strategy to Fight Disinformation Campaigns, as well as increasing the capabilities of the intelligence services.


The report maintains epidemics and pandemics as a national security risk. It was already done in 2017 and now a virus like Covid-19 has changed the world. The lived experience warns of a transcendental threat for Spain: dependence on the outside when accessing strategic resources, as happened in 2020 with masks, tests or respirators, among other materials.

“The dependence on the outside in the supply of strategic resources supposes a vulnerability that has to be alleviated with an adequate industrial policy, both at national and European level, that supports the production capacity of national resources”.

Two measures are considered as keys for Spain to enjoy more resilience. First, create a strategic reserve based on national industrial production capacities that guarantees the supply of strategic goods and services. The Government will draw up a “catalog of resources” that can be “made available to the competent authorities” in the event of a crisis. For this, the autonomous communities will be required to prepare their own catalogs to integrate them into the state one.

The report also urges modernization of the national health surveillance system through the renewal of information systems.

Ceuta and melilla

Another novelty that the Government has introduced in this document is the development of a Comprehensive Security Plan for Ceuta and Melilla. The strategic position of these two autonomous cities and the permanent tension that they arouse with Morocco that its sovereign demands, make them require “special attention from the General State Administration to guarantee the security and well-being of its citizens.”

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The decision of the Moroccan government to facilitate the massive influx of migrants in May of this year, unleashing an unprecedented crisis in Ceuta and a diplomatic conflict, the consequences of which continue to this day, with Rabat, leading to the proposal of this comprehensive security plan.

Coexistence with the neighboring country is a capital issue in the security document. The Government speaks of a “relationship of good friendship” with Morocco and Algeria, while appealing to the need for “loyal cooperation and respect for mutual borders”.

The obligation to have a good relationship with “preferred partners and friends” arises from the need for collaboration and support to “face threats, such as terrorism or organized crime”, key for Spain.

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