(February 9, 2022 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has established an inquiry team that includes representatives from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Mossad intelligence agencies to investigate allegations that Israel Police has used NSO’s Pegasus spyware illegally on multiple occasions, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday.
The decision comes days after Calcalist first reported on the allegations, sparking initial police denials, followed by calls from Cabinet ministers for an official government inquiry.
Bennett met with Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and newly instated Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara to discuss the episode, according to a report on Tuesday by Ynet.
In its statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that prior to the decision to set up an investigation mechanism, Bennett has decided to conduct a check on 26 names listed in coverage by Calcalist of the alleged police spying, adding that a decision on continued steps would follow an examination of the results.
On Monday, Calcalist provided an updated report, saying that police used Pegasus to spy on an array of individuals, such as ministry directors and protest leaders.
Following the report, Bar-Lev said that he would support a government inquiry into the affair, but others in both the coalition and the opposition called for a state inquiry instead, according to Ynet.
Bar-Lev later reportedly agreed with the call for a state inquiry, while also saying that out of the 26 names that appeared in the report, “only three turned out to be true.”
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