TEHRAN (Iran News) – Five French Ministers Targeted by Israeli Spyware. A recent investigation by the French government has revealed that the cell phones of five French ministers and a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s diplomatic team contained traces of Pegasus’s spyware.
French media reported that at least five ministers’ smartphones -currently in government, were infected in 2019 and 2020 by Pegasus spyware.
Among the list of ministers or secretaries of state targeted by the Pegasus, confirmation fell for Jean-Michel Blanquer (National Education), Jacqueline Gourault (territorial cohesion), Julien Denormandie (agriculture), Emmanuelle Wargon (housing), and Sébastien Lecornu (overseas). All were already members of the government.
The media reported that the phone of at least one member of the diplomatic team of French President Emmanuel Macron was also contained by Pegasus.
The media did not reveal which country had spied on the officials. Still, the French newspaper Le Monde had previously reported that Moroccan intelligence was using the application to spy on the French president and his cabinet. Rabat denied the report.
According to Sputnik, the Elysée Palace and the ministers declined to comment.
Earlier, it was reported that the President of France had changed his smartphone and phone number due to the fear that it had been targeted by the Israeli spyware “Pegasus.”
He did so after the media reported that he may have been one of the 50,000 targets of the spyware made by the Israeli group NSO.
In mid-July, investigations by 17 media outlets revealed that NSO spyware had been used to successfully hack 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials, and human rights activists from around the world.
Various media outlets, including The Washington Post, Le Monde, the Guardian, and several other sources, revealed that the Israeli spyware had been sold to some countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to hack into the smartphones of several key figures around the world.
The revelation of the Pegasus spy scandal has provoked so many international reactions that Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Kalamar has said in a statement that the Pegasus project is a good weapon for repressive governments and a repressive threat to the media.
Amnesty International also condemned the action, “Meaningful control of the spyware industry is now urgently needed to stop further violations. All legal steps must be taken to unveil the full extent and nature of NSO complicity in human rights abuses.”
Following widespread reactions and criticism, the Israeli regime claimed to have formed a commission to investigate the misuse of this spyware. A spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Defense said that Israel did not have access to the information collected by the company’s customers.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said that many states believed that the Israeli cabinet was involved with NSO Group. He said it was foolish to assume that they did not share sensitive national security information with Tel Aviv.
Since the revelation, there have been reports confirming a joint investigation by 17 media outlets into the disclosure of the spyware. In early September 2021, it was reported that three U.S. intelligence officers used various espionage programs, including Pegasus, to assist the Emirati cyber group spying on local human rights activists.