Morocco announced that it had filed a lawsuit before the Criminal Court in Paris against the Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, accusing him of defamation, against the background of accusing him of spying in the file of the Pegasus program.
The lawyer appointed by the Kingdom to follow up the case announced, in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse, that “the Kingdom of Morocco and its ambassador to France, Chakib Benmoussa, have commissioned Olivier Baratelli to raise the two direct calls for defamation” against the two organizations, against the background of accusing Rabat of espionage using the program developed by the Israeli company, NSO. .
The first procedural hearing is scheduled for October 8 before the Press Law Department, but the trial is not expected to begin nearly two years ago.
“The Kingdom of Morocco intends to submit the file to the French judiciary because it wants to shed light on the false allegations of these two organizations that presented elements without any concrete and substantiated evidence,” Baratelli said.
On Wednesday, Morocco announced that it was resorting to a “judicial endeavor” following the publication of new media reports indicating that it might be involved in using the “Pegasus” spyware program to target the phones of public figures, including King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron.
On Tuesday, Radio France reported that King Mohammed VI of Morocco and those close to him were “on the list of potential targets” of the “Pegasus” program, which was used to spy on journalists, human rights defenders and politicians.
Le Monde newspaper also said on Tuesday that the phone numbers of French President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government were “on the list of numbers chosen by a Moroccan state security service that uses the Pegasus spyware.”
protocol presidential new
For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron changed his smartphone device Thursday, to avoid any possible intrusion, in the first practical reaction from the French state, after the detection of the spyware.
“He has several phone numbers. This does not mean that he was spied on, but (the step was taken) for more protection,” a French presidential official told Reuters.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that the protocols to protect the French presidency were modified in line with the disclosure of the spy program.
“Obviously we take this issue very seriously,” Atal told reporters.
The General Secretariat for Defense and National Security, specifically the Inter-ministerial Information Systems Management Authority, is responsible for providing the means of communication for the executive authority (the president and the government) in France, whether for use in telephone communications or when exchanging data.
The Confidential, Interministerial Information Systems Management Authority also provides the means to securely communicate with other governments.
Digital security experts explain that the phones placed within the reach of members of the executive branch are not easy to use, which justifies the tendency of some to use their personal phones.
Macron has several personal smartphones that are “regularly changed, updated and secured,” a security source commented to AFP.
The source explains that the security settings of the phones are “restricted to the maximum extent possible, and the downloading of applications is disabled as well as the remote downloading.”
The fragility of digital security
The Pegasus case joins a series of similar spy cases that have rocked the world over the years.
With the development of digital technologies, maintaining the security of classified intelligence or government information has become extremely difficult, and this appears with each new leak “scandal”.
In 2013, former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed thousands of secret documents that exposed widespread US espionage after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The documents showed that several officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, were under surveillance.
In June 2015, documents released by WikiLeaks revealed that the US intelligence services spied on three French presidents, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, for several years.
In the spring of 2021, the Danish Public Broadcasting Corporation, in cooperation with several other European media outlets, revealed that the US National Security Agency had wiretaped over Danish underwater internet cables from 2012 to 2014 to spy on senior politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway and France.