Pegasus Project: French President Calls for National Security Meeting

·2-min read

French President Emmanuel Macron has called an urgent national security meeting on Thursday, 22 July, two days after Macron’s phone number was reported to be on the list of potential Pegasus spyware targets.

Gabriel Attal told France Inter radio, "The president is following this subject closely and takes it very seriously," news agency AFP reported.

He added that the meeting would be "dedicated to the Pegasus issue and the question of cybersecurity".

Telephone numbers linked to at least 14 world leaders, including French President Emmnuel Macron and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, were among the potential Pegasus spyware targets, reported The Wire on Tuesday, 20 July.

Also Read: Macron, Imran Khan Among 14 World Leaders Who Were Potential Pegasus Targets

Though it has not been established if an attempted or successful hacking had taken place, as Macron’s phone has not yet been forensically analysed, evidence of an attempted hacking, allegedly originating in Morocco, was found on the device of former environment minister Francois De Rugy.

De Rugy on Tuesday, demanded Morocco to provide "explanations to France, to the French government and individuals like me, who was a member of the French government when there was an attempt to hack and access the data on my mobile phone", AFP reported.

Macron Was Not a Target: NSO Group

Denying that Macron was a target, Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer at NSO Group, told Israeli television network i24 on Wednesday, 21 July, we can “specifically come out and say for sure that the president of France, Macron, was not a target”.

However, NSO had earlier maintained that it does not operate the systems that it sells to vetted government customers and neither does it claim to have access to the data of its customers’ targets.

Meanwhile, a source close to Macron said on Wednesday, that Macron uses several phones which were "regularly changed, updated and secured".

Reportedly, French ally Morocco, also targeted several journalists in France. As the Pegasus revelations continue, prosecutors in Paris have opened a probe following complaints from investigative website Mediapart and the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, AFP reported.

Denying such claims, Morocco said it "never acquired computer software to infiltrate communication devices".

Also Read: Unconstitutional Attack on Press: Editors Guild on the Pegasus Project

In a statement to Le Monde, Macron’s office stated, “some French victims have already announced they would file complaints and legal investigations will, therefore, be launched”.

The leaked list of names was provided to The Wire and 15 other international news organisations by France-based media non-profit, Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, as part of a collaborative investigation called the 'Pegasus Project'.

(With inputs from AFP)

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