MADRID (AP) — Spain's government says it can't comment on news reports that the imam police say was the key figure behind the cell that killed 16 people in extremist attacks in Barcelona and a nearby town in August had once been an intelligence agency informer.

Leading newspaper El Pais said Abdelbaki Es Satty was an informer for the CNI service at least while he was jailed 2010-2014 for drug offences. The report said the intelligence service made contact with him because he had had previous contact with jihadis.

Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday he couldn't comment because there was a secrecy order on the investigation.

Es Satty was killed at his bomb-making workshop days before the Aug. 17-18 attacks. All of the cell's members were either killed or jailed.