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Presidency admits deficiencies in the detection of package bombs in La Moncloa | Spain

Letter with pyrotechnic material sent last November to the Ukrainian ambassador in Spain, similar to the one that had been received a few days at the Palace of La Moncloa.
Letter with pyrotechnic material sent last November to the Ukrainian ambassador in Spain, similar to the one that had been received a few days at the Palace of La Moncloa.

The Ministry of the Interior has acquired an of the end of its useful life, “it does not have the appropriate technology for the detection of certain packages (suspected of containing explosives)”, as stated in the contracting file to which EL PAÍS has had access. “The appearance of new technologies and the high level of security required in the Complex (of the headquarters of the Presidency of the Government) make it necessary to incorporate state-of-the-art equipment,” the documentation emphasizes. The purchase is made after it was intercepted, on November 24, a letter containing pyrotechnic material addressed to President Pedro Sánchez that did not explode.

In subsequent days, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, also received similar letters; the ambassadors of Ukraine and the United States, Sergi Pohoreltsev and Julissa Reynoso, respectively; the director of the arms company Instalaza, manufacturer of the C-90 grenade launchers that Spain sent to the Government of Volodymyr Zelensky as part of military aid to Ukraine, and the person in charge of the Satellite Center at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base, in Madrid. In January, the National Police arrested Pompeyo González Pascual, a 74-year-old pro-Russian retiree living in Miranda de Ebro (Burgos), as the alleged author of these shipments. After entering prison accused of six crimes of terrorism, In April, the judge of the National Court José Luis Calama ordered his provisional release due to his “advanced age.”.

The report prepared in June by the Presidency to justify the purchase of the new scanner – for which the Interior will finally disburse 56,840 euros – refers to “the latest threats registered in the access controls of the La Moncloa Complex with the sending of packages with suspicions of containing explosive substances” and, specifically, to “the incidents recorded last year with the sending to different Administration agencies of packages containing pyrotechnic/explosive material”, in clear reference to the letters allegedly sent by the pro-Russian retiree. The devices that contained those letters, homemade, were made up of a charge of potassium nitrate ready to deflagrate, that is, produce a flame, when the wooden box where they had been introduced was opened, and incorporated small metal balls like shrapnel. One of the letters caused minor injuries to the hand of an employee of the Ukrainian embassy.

The Presidency document states that after those events “it is necessary to have state-of-the-art equipment” to check the mail and parcels that arrive at La Moncloa. Specifically, he points out that it must be one “with vision Dual View” either double view, that is, equipped with two x-ray generators to create images from above and from the side of the content of the email. This type of equipment, the supporting report continues, allows “when inspecting a package, different images of the same object in the same position can be obtained and a 2D (two-dimensional) view can be obtained that allows a more exact determination of the content.” interior, without having to open its contents with the danger that would entail.” The team must also have the possibility of installing a “intelligent analysis (of) automatic detection of firearms and knives” program. Sources from La Moncloa have declined to give more details about the purchase and the events that motivated it.

Interior has a framework agreement (contracting mechanism that allows for the simplification of successive purchases of security material with a series of specific characteristics) that includes a lot for X-ray scanner equipment. However, the Presidency concludes that “none of “the equipment contemplated” in this agreement meets the requirement of having the function dual view, which its security department claims. For this reason, he commissioned the Interior to put out a tender to acquire one with this specific characteristic.

Only two companies submitted offers to the contest, although one of them was discarded after verifying that the equipment it proposed did not meet the claimed technical specifications. This Tuesday the award of the contract to Telecomunicación Electrónica y Commutación SA was finally made public, which has until the end of October to install and commission the equipment in the Palacio de La Moncloa. The successful bidder also undertakes to train the personnel who must manage it.

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