The Moroccan government denies reports that the country’s security forces may use spyware made by the Israeli National Bureau of Statistics to eavesdrop on the phones of the French president and other public figures.
On Wednesday, the Office of the Public Prosecutor ordered an investigation into the false allegations of the Moroccan security service using NSO malware to monitor activists, journalists and politicians in multiple countries.
The French Prime Minister said on Wednesday that multiple investigations into any misconduct are being conducted.
The Moroccan government lashed out in a statement on Tuesday evening in a global media consortium investigating the alleged widespread use of NSO’s Pegasus spyware to target journalists, human rights activists and politicians in multiple countries. The government threatened to take unspecified legal action.
The French newspaper Le Monde, a member of the consortium, reported that in 2019, Pegasus spyware on behalf of the Moroccan security agency monitored the phones of President Emmanuel Macron and 15 members of the French government at the time as potential targets. one.
French public broadcasting company Radio France reported that the phone calls of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his entourage were also potential targets.
The statement said: “The Kingdom of Morocco strongly condemns the continued false, large-scale and malicious media campaigns.” The government stated that it “rejects these false and baseless allegations and challenges their hawkers… to provide any tangible And material evidence to support their surreal story.”
The consortium identified possible targets from a list of more than 50,000 mobile phone numbers leaked from the Paris-based news non-profit organization Forbidden Stories and human rights organization Amnesty International.
Alliance members stated that they were able to associate more than 1,000 numbers on the list with individuals. Most people are in Mexico and the Middle East.
Although the presence of a phone number in the data does not mean that someone tried to hack into the device, the consortium stated that it believes the data indicates a potential target for NSO government customers.
According to reports from the consortium, the phone numbers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Morocco and Rwanda, as well as the phone numbers of several Arab royals, heads of state and prime ministers are also on the list.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday that the president “ordered a series of investigations” but said that it is too late to comment or announce any new security measures or other actions without knowing “what happened”. morning.
NSO Group denies that it has maintained a “list of potential, past or existing targets.” It called the “Taboo Stories” report “full of false assumptions and unproven theories.”
The source of the leak-and how it was certified-has not been disclosed.