Israeli police used NSO’s Pegasus to spy on local mayors, their relatives
Police tapped phones of three heads of local authorities, whom law enforcement suspected of engaging in corrupt activity, but no evidence was found and no indictment filed; some were detained, with their homes searched
Tomer Ganon | 11:12 23.01.2022
The Israeli police used the NSO’s Pegasus spyware to monitor mayors of local authorities and those close to them, including relatives and associates, Calcalist has revealed. After last week’s multi-part exposé detailed how police's SIGINT unit had been allegedly employing the controversial Pegasus malware to spy on civilians, Calcalist is revealing that law enforcement tapped the phones of at least three mayors and heads of local councils for the purposes of "phishing" - all under the guise of intelligence activities.
Former police cheif Roni Alsheikh (right), and current police chief Kobi Shabtai. Photos: Elad Gershgoren and ShutterstockThe three were allegedly suspected of engaging in corrupt activities but in all three cases no indictment was eventually filed. The use of Pegasus, however, led to the mayors and heads of local councils being investigated. Some were even arrested with their homes searched. Their family members, friends and aides were also summoned for questioning, some of whom were arrested as well. In one of the cases the police decided to tap the phone of the suspect's wife after "phishing" of his phone had failed to yield evidence. Once the wife's phone was tapped, investigators found the woman had been talking to a contractor's wife. Nothing in their conversations indicated criminal offense, but SIGINT officials still decided to apply for wiretapping orders and search warrants in court, with the judge being told that intelligence information received by the unit indicates the mayor is talking to the contractor through his wife with the purpose of rigging tenders.