Emmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, to make sure the Israeli government is “properly investigating” allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Moroccan security services.
In a phone call, Macron expressed concern that his phone and those of most of his government might be infected with Pegasus, a hacking program developed by Israeli monitoring firm NSO Group that enables the tool’s operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones from infected devices. .
The leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus project includes Macron’s mobile phone number.
NSO said Macron was not a “target” of any of its customers, which means the company denies he chose to monitor with Pegasus. The company says that the appearance of a number in the list in no way indicates whether that number was chosen for monitoring with Pegasus.
Project Pegasus was unable to scan the cell phones of leaders and diplomats, and thus could not confirm whether there was any attempt to install malware on their phones.
The phone call between Macron and Bennett reportedly took place on Thursday, but was first reported by Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday evening after the end of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the phone call or the two leaders’ conversation. According to Channel 12, an unnamed source said Bennett stressed that the alleged events took place before he took office in May, and that a committee is studying whether rules on Israel’s export of electronic weapons such as Pegasus should be tightened.