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Emmanuel Macron seeks for Israeli Investigation into NSO Pegasus spyware matter, spoke to Naftali Bennett to ensure ‘proper investigation’

French president reportedly spoke to Naftali Bennett to ensure ‘proper investigation’ after Pegasus project.

emmanual macron

Emmanuel Macron reportedly spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett to ensure that the Israeli government "properly investigates" allegations that the French president was not intended to spy on Israel by Moroccan security forces.

On the phone, Macron expressed concern that his phone and most of his cabinet could be infected with Pegasus, a hacking software developed by Israeli security company NSO Group, which enables tool users to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and privately activate microphones on infected devices.

The database leaked to the heart of the Pegasus project also includes Macron's mobile number.

The NSO said Macron was not a "target" for any of its customers, which means the company denies it was selected for hire through Pegasus. The company claims that the fact that the number appeared on the list does not indicate whether the number was selected for consideration using Pegasus.

The Pegasus project failed to test the cell phones of leaders and strategists, so it could not confirm whether there were any attempts to install malware on their phones.

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Macron-Bennett's call was reportedly made on Thursday, but was first reported by Israeli Channel 12 News on Saturday evening after the end of Shabbat, a Jewish day of rest.

The prime minister's office declined to comment on the phone or in conversation between the two leaders. According to Channel 12, an unnamed source said Bennett had emphasized that the alleged incidents took place before he took office in May, and that the commission was examining whether to enforce laws on cyberweapons sending to Israel such as Pegasus.

The Pegasus project - a combination of 17 media outlets, including the Guardian - revealed last week that government clients around the world used hacking software marketed by the NSO to target human rights activists, journalists and lawyers.

The investigation is based on forensic surveillance and a 50,000-digit database analysis, including that of Macron and heads of state and top governments, diplomatic and military officials, in 34 countries.

In a number of statements, the NSO stated that the fact that the number appeared in the disclosed list does not indicate whether it was selected for patrolling using Pegasus. "The list is not a list of Pegasus' intentions or potential targets," the company said. "The numbers listed are not affiliated with the NSO Group in any way."

But the list is believed to provide insight into those identified as people interested in NSO clients. It includes people whose phones show traces of NSO's spyware hacking phone-signature, Pegasus, according to a research analysis of their devices. The analysis was carried out by Amnesty International's security board, which found details of Pegasus-related activities on 37 of the 67 phones it was analyzing.

While the world is still reeling from the effects of the earthquake of revelation, in Israel the response has been silenced. Meretz, a long-running opposition group that is now part of a new federal government, has called on the Department of Defense to "clarify" the issue, but neither party wants suspending licenses to send or inquire about NSO-Israeli close links. state under the position of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz defended the export licenses, saying "countries that buy these programs must meet the terms of use", which are only for investigating crime and terrorism.

But as the larger impact of the disclosure becomes clearer, pressure on Israeli ambassadors is growing. On Thursday, senior Israeli MP Ram Ben-Barak - the former deputy head of the Mossad intelligence agency - confirmed that the Israeli defense ministry had "appointed a multi-party review commission" to consider whether a policy change on sensitive cyber exports was needed.

U.S. defense officials have also asked their Israeli counterparts for more information on "disturbing" disclosures from the Pegasus operation, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Saturday.

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