The French “Mediapart” news website reported that investigations conducted by French security agencies revealed that the Israeli-made “Pegasus” spying program had penetrated the phones of 5 French ministers and a diplomat at the Elysee Palace, headquarter of the French Presidency.
The French website stated that the phones, after examination by the security services in France, were found to have been infected with spyware that was marketed by the Israeli company NSO in 2019 and 2020.
It indicated that the ministers are Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of Land Cohesion of the Ministry of the Interior Jacqueline George, Minister of Agriculture Julian Dinormondi, Minister of Housing Emmanuel Wargon, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastien Locornu.
As for the diplomat who was targeted, he belongs to the Diplomatic Office at the French Presidential Palace and works with French President Emmanuel Macron on foreign files
On his part, the Minister of Housing confirmed the news to the French newspaper, L’Opinion, a French daily newspaper, saying: “My phone was one of the phones that were examined by the “National Agency for Information Systems Security”.
“I do not have any information about the results of the investigation so far, so I cannot confirm anything at this point,” he said, noting that he had changed his phone.
Last July, the Israeli “NSO” became the subject of intense media controversy, after Amnesty International and the “Forbidden Stories” group cooperated with a group of media organizations in “The Pegasus Project” to publish a list of about 50,000 people, including hundreds of journalists, government leaders, opponents and activists who were targeted by NSO spyware.
The Pegasus program is able to operate the cameras or microphones of cell phones and collect their data.