The executive bugged? Numbers of President Emmanuel Macron and members of the government appear on a list of potential targets of the Pegasus software, used by some states to spy on personalities, Laurent Richard, director of the Forbidden Stories organization, said on Tuesday, confirming information from the World.
The daily revealed Tuesday that these numbers, including that of former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 members of the government, appeared “in the list of numbers selected by a security service of the Moroccan state, user of the spyware Pegasus , for potential piracy ”. The Cherifian kingdom disputes its involvement in this espionage affair.
“If the facts are true, they are obviously very serious”
“We found these phone numbers, but we were obviously unable to carry out a technical investigation on Emmanuel Macron’s phone” to check if he was infected by this software and therefore “that does not tell us if the president was really spied on, ”explained the director of Forbidden Stories, on the LCI news channel. But according to him, whether or not the president was spied on, that “shows in any case that there was an interest in doing so”.
“If the facts are true, they are obviously very serious. All the light will be shed on these press revelations, ”reacted the presidency, to find out if the head of state had been“ potentially spied on ”via Pegasus.
Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International have obtained a list of 50,000 phone numbers selected by NSO clients since 2016 for potential surveillance and shared it with a consortium of 17 media outlets who revealed its existence on Sunday.
Members also on the list
According to Radio France and The world, in addition to Edouard Philippe and his wife, leading ministers, at the time when their numbers were selected, appear on this list, including Jean-Yves Le Drian, Christophe Castaner, Gérald Darmanin, Bruno Le Maire or François de Rugy . But also parliamentarians and political leaders such as François Bayrou of the MoDem, the deputy of La France Insoumise Adrien Quatennens, or Gilles Le Gendre (LREM).
Asked by the deputies about the presence of French journalists and politicians in the Pegasus list, Prime Minister Jean Castex had indicated that investigations were underway to verify “the materiality” of the alleged facts.
Macron isn’t the only head of state whose phone may have been spied on
According to Radio France, the King of Morocco Mohammed VI and his entourage “are on the list of potential targets”, and according to the Washington Post, another member of the media consortium investigating the case, it contains numbers of two other presidents. , Iraqi Barham Saleh and South African Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Washington Post also puts forward the names of three prime ministers in office, those of Pakistan, Imran Khan, of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouli, and of Morocco, Saad-Eddine El Othmani, and of a total of seven prime ministers at the time of their were selected on the list, including the Lebanese Saad Hariri, the Ugandan Ruhakana Rugunda, and the Belgian Charles Michel.
Asked about franceinfo, François de Rugy wanted “Morocco to provide explanations to France, to the French government and to a personality like me who was a member of the French government when there was an attempted intrusion and capture of data from my cell phone ”, while Gilles Le Gendre denounced on Twitter“ the extreme gravity of this large-scale espionage ”revealed by the daily.
Even before this new information was released, French justice opened an investigation Tuesday to examine the complaint of journalists who have also been targeted by Morocco using Pegasus, according to the consortium.