And the revelations are only just beginning.
More will be coming out in the days ahead. The participating news outlets are dubbing this the “Pegasus Project,” teeing off the name of the spyware, Pegasus, which is ostensibly licensed by NSO Group to track terrorists and major criminals. How has the spyware been used? Has it been abused? Those are two of the key questions.
First things first…
“Although the purpose of the list could not be conclusively determined, it is a fascinating document,” Buzbee wrote. “Out of the more than 1,000 identities that could be confirmed, there were at least 85 human rights activists, 65 business executives, several members of Arab royal families, 189 journalists, and 600 government officials and politicians, spread across more than 50 countries.”
Amnesty’s Security Lab was able to examine 67 smartphones. “Of those, 23 were successfully infected and 14 showed signs of attempted penetration,” WaPo reported. “For the remaining 30, the tests were inconclusive, in several cases because the phones had been replaced.”
Who’s on the list?
Here’s what WaPo reported: “Among the journalists whose numbers appear on the list, which dates to 2016, are reporters working overseas for several leading news organizations, including a small number from CNN, the Associated Press, Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Le Monde in France, the Financial Times in London and Al Jazeera in Qatar.”
I was also struck by this line in the WaPo story: “After the investigation began, several reporters in the consortium learned that they or their family members had been successfully attacked with Pegasus spyware.”
“Out in the open…”
CNN has not independently verified the findings of the Pegasus Project probe. The seventeen participating outlets are Forbidden Stories, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, The Guardian, Daraj, Direkt36, Le Soir, Knack, Radio France, The Wire, Proceso, Aristegui Noticias, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Haaretz and PBS “Frontline.”
NSO Group’s response
NSO Group also said it “does not operate the system and has no visibility to the data.” It said it will continue to investigate “all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results” of such investigations…