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French president orders investigation into spying on his phones

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a series of investigations into the file of the Israeli spyware Pegasus, following media reports that it was used by a Moroccan security service to tap his phones, French Prime Minister Jean Castix told TF1 on Wednesday, adding, “If these facts are proven, they will be serious. I assure you.”

Castex explained that President Macron’s decision comes after what was revealed by several media outlets on the hacking of the phones of French politicians and journalists, including the French President and former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, with the aim of possible surveillance by the Pegasus spyware.

On Tuesday, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that a Moroccan security service used “Pegasus” spyware program developed by the Israeli company, NSO, to monitor President Macron. Pegasus program provides access to existing data, including a person’s complete history, messages and archived photos.

Le Monde explained that “one of the telephone numbers of the French President, which he has been using regularly since at least 2017 and until recent days, appears in the list of numbers that the Moroccan intelligence service chose to spy on.”

According to Le Monde data, “Morocco targeted more than ten thousand numbers, about 10 of them in France.”

In addition to President Macron and ministers, the French newspaper notes that Moroccan intelligence also targeted party officials and deputies, saying that “whether the program succeeded in hacking Macron’s phone or not, the presence of this number constitutes a hostile act on the part of Morocco towards the President of a country.”

According to the data published by Forbidden Stories, Amnesty International and Le Monde newspaper, Morocco is a large user of Pegasus program, which enables full control of mobile phones and the extraction of any data: emails, directory, location, documents, photos and messages exchanged via an encrypted message medium as well as activating secretly the microphone and the camera.

For reference, the French judiciary received several complaints from press institutions, independent journalists, lawyers and French human rights activists who were victims of dangerous spying operations on their mobile phones, proving the involvement of the Moroccan authorities. The French Public Prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation into the case.

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