Israel has said it takes “seriously” allegations that the Pegasus spyware developed by NSO Group was used to target politicians, including five senior French ministers.
Le président français Emmanuel Macron a été répertorié dans une base de données de cibles potentielles dans le scandale des logiciels espions Pegasus [Getty]</p><div><p dir="ltr">Le conseiller israélien à la sécurité nationale a eu des entretiens « secrets » avec son homologue français à Paris pour discuter du ciblage présumé de ministres français à l'aide du logiciel espion Pegasus, auraient déclaré des responsables israéliens.
The meeting between Israeli security chief Eyal Hulata and Emmanuel Bonne, adviser to President Emmanuel Macron, took place at the Elysee Palace a few days ago, the news site reported. Axes.
The two discussed Israel’s ongoing investigation into allegations that sophisticated hacking technology, developed by the Israeli group NSO, was used to compromise the security of senior officials. They also discussed commitments to ban Pegasus customers from entering French mobile numbers.
NSO Group, which has repeatedly denied reports that its services have been used to attack politicians and dissidents, declined to comment on reports of the meeting.
“It is not for the NSO to comment on the existence of the content of diplomatic meetings,” said a spokesperson for the NSO.
“However, with respect to the allegations of Project Pegasus, we stand by our previous statements: the so-called lists are not a list of Pegasus targets, therefore the French government officials mentioned are not and never have been Pegasus targets, ”the spokesperson said.
In July this year, a consortium of journalists revealed a database leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers considered potential targets of Pegasus spyware, which can hack a device and steal photos, videos, records, location records, web searches and passwords. .
French President Macron was on the list, along with a number of other French politicians.
Macron changed his cell phone and number after the Pegasus database leaked.
French investigation found spyware ‘markers’ on the phones of five government ministers, French investigative media Mediapart find. The intrusions would have taken place around 2019 to 2020.
NSO Group maintains that its flagship product is only sold to customers approved to prevent “criminal and terrorist acts”.
Despite assurances from Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, that Tel Aviv takes the allegations “seriously”, relations between Tel Aviv and Paris have deteriorated over the spyware scandal.
The hostility resulted in a “partial freeze of diplomatic, security and intelligence cooperation between Israel and France” as well as the suspension of “high-level bilateral visits”, according to the report. Axes.
Macron contacted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett directly after the Pegasus scandal broke to ensure his government properly examines the allegations.
Gantz also traveled to Paris to brief his French counterparts about the Israeli investigation.