Diplomat removed from Jordan mission over Egyptian-born husband

Spanish intelligence report revealed concern over "recruitment by foreign service"

Miguel González

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A highly regarded diplomat who was put forward for the Order of Civil Merit during a posting to Honduras has had her credentials suddenly withdrawn before being named to the Spanish Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

On April 18 Eva de Mingo, a law and political sciences graduate who has worked for the diplomatic corps for 10 years, was included in the Jordan delegation but just a month later was informed that she had been removed. When asked for the reason, a spokesman for the Diplomatic Information Office replied: "No comment."

Colleagues of De Mingo said that the veto had been issued by the Spanish Intelligence Service (CNI), despite the 38-year-old working under Ambassador Luis Belzuz — a former assistant to CNI director Félix Sanz Roldán — in Honduras. De Mingo was refused the necessary security clearance to handle classified documents.

But the perceived problem with this diplomat is not in fact connected to her, but to her husband, Mohamed El Masry, whom she married in 2012. The CNI believes El Masry, a naturalized Spaniard of Egyptian origin who has lived in Spain since 1996, "could be recruited by a foreign intelligence service." De Mingo was informed of the CNI file verbally by her superiors, but never in writing.

El Masry, 40, initially worked as a security guard at the Egyptian Embassy in Madrid and is now chief of institutional relations at the Saudi Arabian mission in the city. A business administration graduate, he is also studying for a doctorate at Madrid's Complutense University. He received Spanish citizenship in 2005 and has a one-year-old daughter with De Mingo.

"I believed Spain was a democratic country but now I am beginning to doubt it," says El Masry. "An accusation has been lodged against me that is false and I haven't even been given a chance to defend myself." He adds that he is perfectly willing to clear up any queries the CNI may have, but has not been contacted by the intelligence service.

De Mingo has received no response to her appeal against her security clearance denial. Neither has she or her husband seen the CNI report supposedly questioning El Masry's patriotism. "We feel completely defenseless," says De Mingo.

A spokesman for the CNI told EL PAÍS that the agency "does not name diplomats and, in consequence, does not veto them." So then who does?

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