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Did The President Of The Commission Of Inquiry From The Freedom Movement Party Misuse Top Secret Classified Information?

Many people found Friday’s hearing before the Commission of Inquiry on the alleged inadmissible political interference in the work of the police, headed by MP Aleš Rezar from the coalition Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda), downright chilling. It turned out that the people being questioned before the Commission are being followed in a State Security Administration-like manner. Namely, the President of the Commission of Inquiry was aware of the fact that the person being interrogated had downloaded one of the communication apps to her phone!

In an attempt to “investigate the work” of the Office for Money Laundering Prevention under the previous government, the Commission questioned the former Director of the Office, Damjan Žugelj, the former Deputy Director, Damjan Režko, and two former employees of the Office, Simona Kaučič and Petra Zakrajšek. The questioning of the latter, who worked as a member of the Suspicious Transactions Unit, was particularly surprising.

Namely, MP Aleš Rezar asked Zakrajšek if she uses the Telegram mobile application. “I use quite a few apps or have them installed on my phone. I don’t use all of them,” she replied. Rezar repeated his question, asking again if she uses the Telegram app. She replied, “Yes, I use that one, too.”

“Is it true that you downloaded the Telegram app yesterday?” was Rezar’s next question, which no doubt rightly surprised many people, as it is not clear where Rezar got this information from in the first place.

Zakrajšek replied to Rezar that she had indeed downloaded the app. Rezar then wanted to find out who she had communicated with via Telegram. She replied that these were her private contacts, and she did not want to talk about them. Rezar insisted that this information was quite crucial for the continuation of their investigation and asked her to answer. “I can’t talk about that. I will not answer that question,” she reiterated.

Rezar wanted to know if the former employee of the Office in question had communicated with anyone via Telegram regarding the hearing before the parliamentary committee. Zakrajšek replied, “No.” The Member of Parliament then reminded her that she was testifying before a parliamentary committee, where perjury is a criminal offence under Article 284 of the Criminal Code. “So I want to ask you again at this point whether you communicated yesterday by Telegram either with Mr Žugelj or with someone else about the subject of today’s hearing?” he insisted. The interviewee replied that she had not communicated with anyone by Telegram on the subject of the hearing.

“Did you communicate with Mr Mahnič via the app Signal when the office was headed by Mr Žugelj?” the MP asked further. Zakrajšek replied, “No.” She also answered “No.” to the question of whether she had communicated in any other way with MP Žan Mahnič, who was the Secretary for National Security during the term of the previous government, which, according to Rezar, had a lot to do with the Office for Money Laundering Prevention. “Did you perhaps communicate with Mr Žugelj yesterday via Telegram?” Rezar asked next. She replied that she had communicated with him, but not specifically on the matter.

Rezar then wanted to know what she and Žugelj had discussed, so he asked her if she could tell him what they had talked about. Zakrajšek responded that she would not answer that question. He then asked if they regularly heard from each other, and she told him that they did not. “Why via Telegram? Who suggested this encrypted way of communication?” he asked her, and she explained that she uses Viber, Messenger, not Signal, but also has a few apps. “In general, I only communicate through these channels, even with other people,” she insisted. When he asked her if she agreed with him that the case looked very controversial on the surface, given that she had downloaded the app the day before the hearing, given that she admitted to having spoken to Mr Žugelj, Zakrajšek replied that she did not see in what way that could be controversial.

The disclosure by the President of the Commission of Inquiry has upset the public

Since the President of the Commission knew very well exactly when Zakrajšek had downloaded the app, many people rightly wonder if there was a misuse of intelligence in this case, since she was apparently followed very thoroughly. Judging by the reactions on the social network X, the hearing upset many people. As in the case of the Nova24TV investigations, where there are suspicions of abuse by law enforcement authorities, we have turned to the Commission for the Supervision of the Intelligence and Security Services, headed by Janez Žakelj (New Slovenija party – NSi), with questions.

Strong reactions on social networks

Lots of X users responded to what went down in an outraged manner. We have gathered a few of their responses here: “Leaving the content aside for a moment… How does the President of the Commission know (or how did he find out) that the person being questioned downloaded a certain app yesterday (!!!)?” one user wondered. “Not only do members of the Freedom Movement coalition look into people’s private bank accounts, they also track people via apps on their phones. These are methods akin to those of the State Security Administration,” Jelka Godec, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) parliamentary group, was critical of what happened. Another user noted: “It is actually even worse. They track when you download an app,” while others wrote the following: “’Freedom’ like we’re in 1945”; “Things are getting a bit scary”; “But is there anything else to expect?”; “In spite of all of this, they have still not managed to find the stolen identities.”; “When I saw this…People, be careful what you say on the phone. In Freedom ‘45, Golob and the rest of the dictatorial gang from his ranks are controlling you”; “How does Golobget to know when you’re downloading an app? The State Security Administration is working hard.”

A. H.

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