Pegasus Spy Scandal: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will fly to France on Wednesday for a meeting with his French counterpart, Florence Parly, to discuss the scandal surrounding Israeli firm NSO Group, whose state-linked clients allegedly used its Pegasus software for illicit spying, his press service said.
“Defense Minister Benny Gantz will travel to France on Wednesday to meet with French Defense Minister Florence Parly for a strategic dialogue on security issues. Gantz will discuss the crisis in Lebanon and the developing agreement with Iran. He will also update the minister on the topic of NSO,” the statement read.
According to Gantz’s office, the meeting was planned even before it surfaced that the Israeli software could be used to spy on French President Emmanuel Macron.
“The trip was planned about a month ago, independently from the NSO problem, but rather in the context of the Lebanese crisis and the Iranian nuclear agreement — these topics were previously discussed by Minister Gantz and Minister Parly by phone,” the statement said.
Last Sunday, a group of media outlets and rights organizations released the findings of a collaborative investigation that exposed NSO Group doing business with government clients who may have used Pegasus to spy not on criminals and terrorists, as intended, but politicians, journalists, activists, and business people around the world.
The list of potential targets included over 50,000 phone numbers belonging, among others, to three presidents, 10 prime ministers, and one king.
With Macron reportedly on the list, French prosecutors launched an investigation into the case.