Aznar personally telephoned El Pais and other Spanish news outlets, insisting that the Basque separatist group ETA was responsible for the carnage. Aznar's diplomats worked overtime to push a resolution through the United Nations Security Council blaming ETA. Aznar's interior minister, Angel Acebes, denounced speculation of al Qaeda involvement as "an attempt by malicious people to distort information."
As Washington Post writer Keith B. Richburg reported, however, Spanish intelligence suspected al Qaeda from the very beginning. Among the evidence ignored by Aznar? The operation's sophisticated co-ordination and planning, al Qaeda's own claims of responsibility, and the discovery of a van carrying detonators, cigarette butts, a woman's wig, a Placido Domingo cassette, and a tape containing verses from the Koran.
[The Socialists won the election.]