Macron and other heads of government targeted by “Pegasus”

Photo: Emmanuel Macron, dts. Through this



PARIS (DTS) – French President Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by “Pegasus” spyware, according to a media report. A Moroccan authority reportedly sought to research him in 2019, as shown by a list of leaked telephone numbers, reports “Sudetsche Zeitung”, the NDR, WDR and the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”.

The mobile number of Charles Michel, then prime minister of Belgium and now president of the European Council, is said to have been a potential target for Moroccan authorities. According to research, the list is a number of potential spy targets, which are said to have been pre-selected by clients of the Israeli spy company NSO Group. The company denies this representation. According to the research network, the Pegasus project leaks include telephone numbers of 14 heads of state or government who could have fallen victim to cell phone spies during their tenure.



Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obed bin Daghar, Saad Hariri from Lebanon, Ruhakana Ragunda from Uganda, Algerian Prime Minister Nouredin Bedoui, Mustafa Madbouli from Egypt, Prime Minister Saad-Eddin El Othmani from Morocco and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan. are also affected. Is it[Khajatahakperissthitgar-Labkarisnpadkiycaryalyforbidnstorijhawrmanwadikarsngtnmnestiintrneshnlkosnvednshildetatkphuncpradankigithyjiseunhonne”Zeit””Sudetshejitung”Andiarawrdbludiarkesathwith14Anyameediakesathsajakiathakdsdeshkimanuelmacronsrkarigtividhionshitapaneselfonkaatydikupyogkrnekeliajanejatehanksmacharptr”Lemonde”Kijankarikeanusarpegasspriojnakeaankdonmenabaktelifonnanbrhajiskaupyogvh2017Sekrrhaha[कहाजाताहै।पेरिसस्थितगैर-लाभकारीसंपादकीयकार्यालयफॉरबिडनस्टोरीज़औरमानवाधिकारसंगठनएमनेस्टीइंटरनेशनलकोसंवेदनशीलडेटातकपहुंचप्रदानकीगईथीजिसेउन्होंने”ज़ीट””सुदेत्शेज़ितुंग”एनडीआरऔरडब्लूडीआरकेसाथ-साथ14अन्यमीडियाकेसाथसाझाकियाथा।दसदेश।इमैनुएलमैक्रॉनसरकारीगतिविधियोंसहितअपनेसेलफोनकाअत्यधिकउपयोगकरनेकेलिएजानेजातेहैं।समाचारपत्र”लेमोंडे”कीजानकारीकेअनुसारपेगाससपरियोजनाकेआंकड़ोंमेंअबएकटेलीफोननंबरहैजिसकाउपयोगवह2017सेकररहाहै।

Macron could also be contacted on this number in the last few days. When asked, the Elysee Palace did not want to comment. The data includes the number of high-ranking French politicians, such as then-prime minister Edouard Philippe, and several ministers in his government in the first half of 2019. The Moroccan embassy in Paris said these were “baseless allegations” that had been “categorically dismissed” in the past.

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The statement added that the UK government and its agencies have never “acquired computer software to infiltrate communications equipment”, nor have the Moroccan authorities ever resorted to such acts. NSO said upon request that it could rule out Macron being a potential target of an NSO customer, now or in the past. It is currently unclear whether the phones of the politicians concerned were actually infected with spyware. This evidence can only be provided through a forensic examination of the equipment, which so far has not been officially sanctioned by any politician.

On the other hand, experts at Amnesty International claim that they have found traces of NSO spy software Pegasus on the cell phones of French journalists. A Moroccan official is also suspected behind these attacks. Smartphones on which Pegasus has been successfully placed can be almost completely monitored and controlled remotely. For example, the camera and microphone can be turned on incognito.

The program also bypasses the encryption of messenger services that are otherwise considered secure. According to the NSO group, the purpose of the software is to monitor terrorists and suspected criminals. So spying on politicians is not part of the permitted use. The Israeli company announced that it would neither comment on its customers nor access their target selections.

To the best of its own knowledge, NSO only sells Pegasus licenses to government agencies. They defend themselves against false accusations, but will review alleged cases of misuse of their software and, if necessary, engage with customers about what has already happened. Government agencies with Pegasus were also interested in Iraqi President Barham Salih and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. According to research, Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Union Commission, was also allegedly targeted by Moroccan authorities. On the other hand, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón was apparently attacked from his own country, but after his term. Even a number that, according to Project Pegasus research, was given to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. can be found in a list of 50,000 potential espionage targets. Even in this case, it was clearly a secret service of his own country that was interested in the emperor. NSO declared that Emperor was never the target of one of its customers.

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In all, the Pegasus project team said it has been able to identify government members from more than 20 countries, as well as hundreds of government officials from more than 30 countries. Therefore global organizations are also potential targets of state surveillance. The cell phone number of Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, has been leaked as well as the cell phone numbers of various UN ambassadors and other diplomats have been listed. In this case also, NSO explicitly objected to the involvement of any of its customers. It appears that like French and Algerian targets, Ghebreyesus was targeted by Moroccan authorities and Indian officials by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Saad Hariri (Lebanon) and Barham Salih (Iraq) seem to have aroused the interest of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with the Egyptian prime minister being said to have only Saudis on the radar, while the Yemeni prime minister’s Nearby is only Emirates on the radar. According to research, the President of South Africa and the then Prime Minister of Uganda were targeted by relevant agencies in Rwanda – but Rwanda denies using Pegasus. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates left requests to use the NSO software unanswered. There was an announcement from India that the Indian officers would act according to the law.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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