France Investigates Report Morocco Had Macron’s Phone Hacked

France is looking into a news report that the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron may have been tapped on behalf of Morocco using spyware developed by Israel’s NSO group, his office said Tuesday.

A Moroccan surveillance agency attempted to access his private conversations in 2019, according to an international investigation cited by France Info, which took part in the project.

Other heads of state and government members -- including about 15 French ministers or ex-ministers -- were also targeted, the probe showed. Morocco has denied responsibility, France Info reported.

The Pegasus spyware was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smart phones belonging to journalists, activists and business executives worldwide, according to the investigation led by the Paris-based not-for-profit Forbidden Stories, which relied on evidence extracted from the phones through forensic analysis by Amnesty International.

Pegasus, sold to select governments and law-enforcement agencies, can hack into mobile phones through a link and secretly record emails, calls and text messages. In some cases, it can activate itself without the victim clicking on the link, according to the consortium. NSO said the investigation contained flawed assumptions and factual errors.

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Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, his wife, as well as incumbent Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire could also have been tapped, according to France Info. Paris prosecutors have opened a probe into the spyware after journalists and investigative outlet Mediapart filed a complaint.

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