New revelations continue to emerge about the espionage scandal with the software “Pegasus” of the Israeli company NSO Group.
French President Emmanuel Macron, politicians and other senior diplomats are among the list of 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been identified as NSO clients of interest over the past five years, reports The Guardian.
The Pegasus espionage scandal database that was uncovered this week includes the mobile phone numbers of Macron and 13 other heads of state and government, according to The Guardian.
South African President Cyril Ramafoza and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also attended, the figures quoted, which included diplomats, military leaders and senior politicians from 34 countries.
The Israeli company NSO Group, which produces the software “Pegasus”, has stated that its software is used exclusively for legal investigations, such as essentially monitoring and dismantling the networks of criminals or terrorists.
Appearing a number on the list that includes numbers chosen by the governments of NSO Group clients does not automatically mean that they have been the victim of espionage. The NSO insists the database “has nothing to do” with the company.
The Israeli giant said Macron was not a “target” of any of its customers, meaning the company denies that it was chosen to oversee with its software. The company added that the fact that a number appears in the list is not at all indicative of whether this number was selected for tracking using “Pegasus” software.
However, the list is believed to be indicative of individuals identified as “targets” by the Israeli company’s customers. It includes people who were later targeted, according to an analysis of their phones.
The Guardian and the collaborating media that brought to light the “Pegasus scandal” have identified governments believed to be responsible for selecting individual numbers in the data by carefully examining selection patterns.
The list of politicians includes:
South African President Cyril Ramafoza, who appears to have been elected by Rwanda in 2019.
French President Emanuel Macron, who seems to have been chosen as a figure of interest by Morocco in 2019. An Elysées official said: “If this is proven, it is very serious.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tentros Antanom Gebregesous, who also seems to be interested in Morocco from 2019.
Saad Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister last week and appears to have been “targeted” by the UAE in 2018 and 2019.
European Council President Charles Michel, who appears to have been elected as a “figure of interest” by Morocco in 2019, when he was prime minister of Belgium.
King Mohamed VI of Morocco, who was elected as a candidate in 2019, apparently by the security forces in his country.
Moroccan Prime Minister Saaddin Otmani, who was also elected as a stakeholder in 2018 and 2019, is again likely to be from within his own country.
Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, who was “elected” by India in 2019.
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. His number was chosen in 2016 and 2017 by a Mexican “client” apparently at a time when his wife, Margarita Savala was claiming the highest office in the country.
Robert Mali, the veteran US diplomat who was the chief negotiator for the US-Iran agreement and who seems to have been the target of Morocco in 2019./ abcnews.al