Thursday, February 2

two crises and two resignations of senior officials with extensive experience in the service of Spain


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Two crises and two resignations of senior State officials with an impeccable career of service to Spain. First, the chief of the Defense Staff (Jemad), Air General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, in January 2021. Now, the director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Paz Esteban, with 40 years of experience in ‘the House’

That is the summary of two big storms that the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, at the head of the Ministry of Defense, has had to deal with.

The first was caused by a controversial vaccination campaign against Covid by which high-ranking officers of the Defense General Staff, with Jemad Villarroya at the head, supplied themselves with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

Jemad resigned on January 23, 2021. General Villarroya explained his resignation “with the aim of preserving the image of the Armed Forces”.

General Villarroya, when he was Jemad, and Minister Robles – EFE

It so happens that that vaccination protocol, by which more than 300 soldiers received the first dose at a time when the rest of society did not belong to them due to age, was approved by the General Health Inspectorate of the Defense, dependent on the Undersecretary of Defense (position of political trust).

That vaccination in the Defense General Staff began on January 19, four days before the vaccination and was carried out after previously receiving the “Vaccination Strategy against Covid-19 in the Armed Forces”.

After the resignation of the Jemad, as firewall in the Ministry of Defense and facing the 300 vaccinated, General Villarroya was rewarded, to a certain extent, two months later with a position in Washington as Defense Adviser in the Permanent Observer Mission of Spain before the Organization of American States (OAS) and advisor for Hemispheric Security Affairs.

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It so happens that General Villarroya, in his role as Jemad, had a highlighted in the most difficult moments of the Covid-19 pandemic explaining the actions of the Armed Forces and offering a situation point instead of the Government.

The resignation of Paz Esteban

Now the resignation of Paz Esteban, the first woman to occupy the leadership of the CNI, comes after a brawl with the Catalan independence movement for espionage with ‘Pegasus’ software, in addition to security flaws in the phones of the Prime Minister himself, Pedro Sanchezand at least four ministers.

Robles, with Paz Esteban, at the CNI headquarters in July 2019
Robles, with Paz Esteban, at the CNI headquarters in July 2019 – EFE

Minister Robles must explain in the conference after the Council of Ministers the causes of the dismissal of Esteban at the head of the CNI, a Spanish Intelligence professional with more than 40 years of experience and that he assumed the interim leadership of the National Intelligence Center in July 2019 and was later ratified in February 2020, replacing General Félix Sanz Roldán.

Above all, after last week defending the legality of the CNI’s actions, dependent on the Ministry of Defense.

Thus, Robles indicated in the Defense Commission of the Congress of Deputies that the CNI’s actions were marked by legality: “You only have to look at the regulations and everything is perfectly included in the regulations.” And he defended that the accusations “do not correspond to reality.”

Robles explained that “luckily» Stephenwho is enduring “stoically these accusations”, could say what he deems appropriate in the official secrets commission (as it was), also providing documents.

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