Macron calls national security meeting over claims of Pegasus spyware in France

AFP - [email protected] • 22 Jul, 2021 Updated Thu 22 Jul 2021 09:06 CEST
Macron calls national security meeting over claims of Pegasus spyware in France
France’s President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech as he meets French carmakers at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, on July 12, 2021. - Macron hosted a top-level virus security meeting in the morning and then will give a televised speech in the evening, the kind of solemn speech he’s given at each turning point in France’s virus epidemic. (Photo by Michel Euler / POOL / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has called a national security meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware after reports about its use in France emerged this week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.


"The president is following this subject closely and takes it very seriously," Attal told France Inter radio, adding that the unscheduled national security meeting would be "dedicated to the Pegasus issue and the question of cybersecurity".

The meeting comes after revelations that phone numbers for Macron and 15 members of his government appeared on leaked lists of targets of the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group.

The group said on  Wednesday that the firm's controversial Pegasus spyware tool was not used to target Macron.


The comments came as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged Israel to suspend exports of the spying technology after heads of state and scores of journalists and rights activists featured on a list of alleged targets selected for potential surveillance.

We can "specifically come out and say for sure that the president of France, Macron, was not a target," Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer at NSO Group, told the i24 News television network.

But he also alluded to "some cases brought up that we are not so comfortable with", noting that in such circumstances the firm "usually approaches the customer and has a whole long discussion... to try to understand what were his legitimate reasons, if any, to use the system." 

A list was leaked of some 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been chosen by clients of NSO Group. The numbers purportedly included those of Macron, 13 other heads of state and 15 French government ministers including former prime minister Edouard Philippe.

Pegasus can hack into mobile phones without a user knowing, enabling clients to read every message, track a user's location and tap into the phone's camera and microphone.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also