Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz assured his French counterpart Florence Parly on Wednesday July 28 that his country was taking ” seriously “ allegations of espionage concerning the Israeli software Pegasus, suspected of having also been used against President Emmanuel Macron.
Benny Gantz a “Broached the subject NSO [la société de cybersécurité israélienne conceptrice de Pegasus] and declared that Israel took the allegations seriously ”, noted the Israeli defense ministry in a statement. “He underlined that the State of Israel only gives export authorizations of cyber products to States and only to fight against terrorism and crime”, added the ministry.
Florence parly “Indicated to him the clarifications which are now awaited by France, and on which depend the trust and mutual respect between our two countries”, said the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. The minister had already indicated on Tuesday that she wanted to take the opportunity of this long-planned bilateral meeting to find out “What knowledge did the Israeli government have of the activities of NSO clients” and how he counted “Prevent the diversion of these highly intrusive tools”. It was the first meeting between the Israeli defense minister and his French counterpart since 2013, the military ministry said.
Pegasus, which allows infiltration of computer systems, is at the heart of a global spy scandal revealed in mid-July by 17 media outlets. It would have made it possible to spy on the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 85 human rights activists or even 14 heads of state including French President Emmanuel Macron – which NSO denies.
As revealed The world and Radio France, numbers by Emmanuel Macron as well as those of former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 members of the government, including the head of diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian, appeared “In the list of numbers selected by a security service of the Moroccan State, user of Pegasus, for a potential piracy”.
“If these facts are true (…) we will draw all the consequences, but first it must be proven that they are true ”, argued the spokesperson for the French government, Gabriel Attal, after the Council of Ministers, stressing that “Checks” were in progress.
“Official representatives” in the NSO offices
Regularly accused of playing into the game of authoritarian regimes, NSO assures that its Pegasus software is only used to obtain information on criminal or terrorist networks. The Israeli Parliament has set up a commission to investigate allegations of Pegasus use in “Misuse” by some states to spy on personalities.
Benny Gantz informed Mme Parly that “Official representatives visited the NSO offices on Wednesday”, said the Israeli defense ministry, without further details.
The Israeli minister also took stock with his counterpart on the Iranian nuclear power and on the ” threatens “ region that Iran represents in Israel’s eyes. He also spoke with the head of French foreign intelligence, Bernard Emié.
Also listen Pegasus: at the heart of a global investigation into phone spying