Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023

Israel inquiry to look into alleged police massive use of Pegasus spyware against journalists, politicians and innocent citizens

Israel inquiry to look into alleged police massive use of Pegasus spyware against journalists, politicians and innocent citizens

Business people, politicians, anti corruption activists and Netanyahu’s son and friends were targeted by phone intercepts, against the law
Israel’s police minister has announced the formation of a cabinet-level inquiry after a newspaper alleged that police had used powerful Pegasus spyware against a wide range of public figures including politicians from the left and right, businessmen, officials and activists.

Pegasus, a mobile phone hacking tool made by Israel’s NSO Group, was used to “phish for intelligence even before any investigation had been opened against the targets, and without judicial warrants”, Calcalist newspaper said in an unsourced report.

Among those allegedly identified as targets were the former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Avner and other members of his inner circle, including figures who have given evidence against Netanyahu in police investigations into corruption.

Omer Barlev, the minister for police, said he was setting up a cabinet-level commission of inquiry. “There won’t be such failings on my watch,” he tweeted about Calcalist’s allegations, casting them as predating the current government.

At least three of Barlev’s cabinet colleagues demanded a more independent, extra-governmental commission of inquiry.

Commenting on the report on Army Radio, Avner Netanyahu said he was “in shock … Apparently it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m involved in politics – it will happen to you, too,” he said.

Lawyers for Benjamin Netanyahu – who denies wrongdoing – urged that proceedings against him be suspended.

Calcalist set off a fierce political storm last month when it alleged that police had conducted warrantless phone intercepts of Israeli citizens, including politicians and activists, using Pegasus spyware.

The prime minister, Naftali Bennett, who unseated Netanyahu in June, deemed Calcalist’s latest findings “very serious, if true”.

“[Pegasus] and similar tools are important tools in the fight against terrorism and severe crime, but they were not intended to be used in phishing campaigns targeting the Israeli public or officials, which is why we need to understand exactly what happened,” he said.

The police commissioner, Kobi Shabtai, said any “irregularities and failures” should be “dealt with in accordance with the law”.

Also named as targets by the paper were the heads of a number of government departments including the ministries of transport, finance and justice, as well as West Bank settlers who were allegedly targeted before evacuations of illegal outposts by security forces.

Calcalist said other targets included Rami Levy, who runs a chain of popular discount supermarkets, a senior union official at Israel Aerospace Industries, journalists including the former editor-in-chief of the Walla news site, and leaders of protest movements for Ethiopian and disability rights.

Commenting on the latest report, the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, said: “This is not an easy day. The law enforcement system cannot be careless when it comes to following the law. We must not lose our democracy. We must not lose our police. And certainly – we must not lose the public’s trust in them. This requires a thorough and foundational examination.”

The country’s rightwing interior minister, Ayelet Shaked, was equally damning. “If these things are right then we are talking about an earthquake, acts that fit dark regimes from the previous century that we must not be like,” Shaked said.

“Mass intrusion into the privacy of many people is lawlessness that must be stopped today. An external commission of inquiry is required … The Knesset and the entire public deserve answers, today.”

On Monday morning, police spokesperson Eli Levy told the Kan public broadcaster that he would not be commenting on the latest reports and that the service was open “to a full transparent investigation”.

The report suggested that among justifications for the bugging were allegations that officials at ministries were leaking material to journalists, cross-checking evidence in investigations and – in the case of protest organisers – needed to see which road junctions might be blocked.

NSO has previously said that all its sales are government-authorised and that it does not itself run Pegasus.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
×