French newspaper Le Monde reported on Tuesday that in the Pegasus spyware case, the phone call of French President Emmanuel Macron was the target of potential surveillance on behalf of Morocco.
The French president said that if the news about Macron’s phone call is true, it will be very serious.
Le Monde said that according to sources, one of Macron’s frequently used phone numbers since 2017 is on the list of numbers selected by Moroccan intelligence services for potential cyber spies.
Morocco issued a statement on Monday denying involvement in the use of Pegasus and rejecting the so-called “baseless and false accusations.”
An investigation published on Sunday by 17 media organizations led by the Paris-based non-profit news organization Forbidden Stories stated that spyware manufactured and licensed by the Israeli company NSO has been used to try and successfully hack smartphones belonging to journalists , Government officials and human rights activists.
The statement is based on a leaked document containing 50,000 people identified as potential targets for Pegasus between 2016 and June 2021.
This list mainly comes from 10 countries-Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the list includes the phone numbers of Macron and 13 other world leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Washington Post reported that the phone number of Iraqi President Barham Saleh was also on the list.
The Post stated that it was unable to determine whether the Pegasus spyware infected Salih’s phone or whether anyone tried to do so.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Karamad said in a statement: “The unprecedented revelation that at least 14 heads of state may be invaded by the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware should chill the world’s leaders.
“NSO Group can no longer conceal that its spyware is only used to fight crime-it seems that Pegasus is also the spyware of choice for those who want to spy on foreign governments.”
The National Bureau of Statistics issued a statement on Sunday to dismiss reports from media partners, saying it was “full of false assumptions and unproven theories.”
It said its products are only used by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to combat terrorism and crime.
In addition, Radio France reported on Tuesday that the phone call of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and a “large number” of members of the Moroccan royal family were also included in the list of the number of people identified by Moroccan intelligence as potential targets of Pegasus spyware.
It said they included the king’s wife Lara Salma Bennani, and his cousin Prince Murray Hicham Allawi, who was nicknamed the “Red Prince” because of his progressive views, and the late King Hassan II’s former son-in-law and entrepreneur Fuad Ferrari, and Hassan II’s former bodyguard Muhammad Meduri, the current king’s stepfather.
Indian parliament disrupted
In India, the country’s opposition party disrupted the parliament on Tuesday, demanding investigations into reports of the government’s use of Pegasus spyware to snoop on many journalists, activists and politicians including the main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
Opposition members chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing their desire to conduct independent investigations into complaints of spies and the resignation of Interior Minister Amit Shah.
The Indian news portal The Wire reported that before the 2017-19 national election, 300 verified Indian figures were listed as potential surveillance targets, including the opposition Congress Party senior leader Gandhi and two other legislators. Of politicians with smartphones.