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Pegasus affair: Morocco denies spying allegations


The espionage software Pegasus has allegedly monitored top European politicians. Morocco denies having placed the order. Israel is setting up a special team to investigate.

Enlarge image

The Moroccan royal family, with King Mohammed VI in the middle.

(Archiv recording)

Photo: AP

Who is the client in the Pegasus affair?

The surveillance software is said to have spied the cell phones of heads of state and government, high-ranking officials, journalists and activists around the world.

Morocco has denied any involvement in the surveillance of public figures.

The country condemns the "misleading" media campaign in the strongest possible terms, reported the state news agency MAP on Wednesday, citing a government statement.

"The government of the Kingdom of Morocco categorically rejects these false and unfounded allegations," said the Moroccan leadership.

The North African country sees itself as a target of "hateful attacks" by the media and organizations involved in the revelations.

According to research by an international journalist consortium, the Pegasus software is said to have been used to spy out smartphones from journalists, human rights activists, politicians and business people.

On Tuesday it was reported internationally that France's head of state Emmanuel Macron and several of his ministers could have been possible targets for such spying in 2019.

One of Macron's cell phone numbers is on a list of a Moroccan security service for possible spying, reported the daily Le Monde.

It was said in circles from Macron's official residence that the media information did not mean that Macron's cell phone was actually spied.

According to media reports, the Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

are on the list of potential targets.

Pegasus uses security holes in smartphone software to gain extensive access to data.

The numbers of the French government are part of a data set with more than 50,000 telephone numbers that the journalist consortium has evaluated together with the organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.

According to the reports, the numbers of politicians, human rights activists and journalists were apparently selected by customers of the Israeli software provider NSO as potential spying targets.

NSO denied the allegations and denied individual details from the reports.

The »Süddeutsche Zeitung«, NDR, WDR and the »Zeit« are also involved in the journalist consortium.

It was unclear, however, whether the affected persons named in the research were actually spied on.

Whether this has happened cannot be "verified in individual cases," according to a report by NDR and WDR.

The Israeli government is now forming a special team made up of representatives from various ministries, the Mossad foreign intelligence service and the army.

This is reported by the Internet news site "Axios".

Accordingly, there is concern in government circles that the reports could develop into a diplomatic crisis for Israel.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not want to comment on the issue.

as / dpa

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-07-21

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