Top Polish Politician Admits Country Bought Israeli Pegasus Spyware
© AFP 2022 / JOEL SAGETThis studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features 'Pegasus' spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021. - Private Israeli firm NSO Group has denied media reports its Pegasus software is linked to the mass surveillance of journalists and rights defenders, and insisted that all sales of its technology are approved by Israel's defence ministry (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)
Earlier, the Toronto-based cyber watchdog group Citizen Lab and Amnesty International independently reported that several Polish opposition politicians, including lawmakers, had been hacked using the notorious Israeli spyware Pegasus.
Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski has admitted that Warsaw bought the notorious Pegasus spyware from the Israeli firm NSO Group. The moment came in an upcoming interview with the local weekly Sieci. Excerpts from the to-be-published interview have already emerged on the news portal wPolityce.
Kaczynski claimed that the spyware is used by the country's secret services in order to fight crime and corruption due to its ability to intercept even encrypted messages – something that other available spyware programmes can't do.
"It would be bad if the Polish services did not have this type of tool".
At the same time, Poland's deputy prime minister dismissed accusations against Warsaw of using Pegasus against opposition politicians. Kaczynski stressed that the spyware was not the reason why the opposition narrowly lost the last election in 2019 and insisted that there was no need to establish a parliamentary investigative commission to study the accusations against the government.
"There is nothing here, no fact, except the hysteria of the opposition. There is no Pegasus case, no surveillance. No Pegasus, no services, no secretly obtained information played any role in the 2019 election campaign. They lost because they lost. They shouldn't look for such excuses today".
Kaczynski's revelations come as an about-face on the party's position of denying possession of Pegasus in the wake of the Canada-based cyber watchdog group Citizen Lab and Amnesty International independently reporting that Polish opposition politicians had been hacked using the Israeli spyware. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested that another country's intelligence services could have done it.
22 December 2021, 16:13 GMT
Amnesty International's investigation suggested that Polish Senator Krzysztof Brejza from the opposition Civic Platform had been repeatedly hacked in 2019 during the parliamentary election campaign. Text exchanges extracted from his phone were doctored and leaked during that time to local media and broadcasters.
His party narrowly lost and now Brejza insists that the election was not fair since the ruling party allegedly had access to sensitive information about his campaign, including its tactics. The party Law and Justice denies it.