In the framework of the international journalistic investigation “Pegasus Project”, coordinated by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, it was revealed that the Israeli businessman Uri Emmanuel Ansbacher Bendrama operated a global network of companies that sold goods and security equipment to Mexican government agencies, including the Pegasus spyware from the company NSO Group.
Pegasus is a malware or intrusive program capable of activating the camera and microphone of cell phones, among other functions that invade the privacy of their owners and those of their interlocutors. The Calderon government was the first in the world to purchase, through the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), a Pegasus system in 2011.
A former employee of the network of companies, who is now a witness to the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), delivered documents that prove the purchase of the spy platform by SEDENA, the Intelligence and National Security Center (CISEN) and the then Attorney General’s Office (PGR).
The espionage actions were carried out against journalists, human rights defenders, activists and politicians.
These new elements refute the statements of Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Secretary of the Interior during the six-year term of office of Enrique Peña Nieto, who for four years has denied the purchase of the software and its use by CISEN (now the National Intelligence Center).
In this sense, Proceso and Aristegui Noticias were able to identify the creation of at least 30 front companies that are linked to the Pegasus network in Mexico, Panama and the United States, as well as a series of transfers between these companies, Mexican government institutions and NSO Group.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered that the contracts that were made for the acquisition of espionage equipment be sent to the FGR. Santiago Nieto, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, indicated that the Pegasus malware contracts concluded on December 31st, 2018 “and that during the administration of President Lopez Obrador these groups have not been hired by the federal government.”
Lopez Obrador considered that the issue of espionage during the government of his predecessor should be taken into account in the popular consultation that will be held on August 1st.
For its part, the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) enabled a new section within the microsite “For Public Opinion”, which will concentrate requests for access to information and review resources on cases of espionage, like that of Pegasus, in Mexico.
The “Pegasus Project” is an investigation that reveals the abuses that ten client governments of the Israeli company NSO Group perpetrated with the Pegasus spyware against journalists, human rights defenders and political opponents, both at home and abroad.
For more information in Spanish:
Pegasus Project: la red de empresas que vendió Pegasus al gobierno de Peña Nieto (Proceso, 21 de julio de 2021)
Tras escándalo Pegasus y a días de la consulta popular, Peña Nieto “reaparece” en Twitter (Proceso, 26 de julio de 2021)
El socio indiscreto: con Pegasus, Peña Nieto también espiaba a sus aliados(Proceso, 20 de julio de 2021)
Solicitudes, denuncias y contratos: INAI publica datos sobre Pegasus y espionaje(Animal Político, 23 de julio de 2021)
Contratos inéditos, facturas y López Obrador exhiben que Osorio Chong mintió sobre el tema Pegasus (Aristegui Noticias, 23 de julio de 2021)
Se publicará en la web información sobre contratos con ‘Pegasus’ (La Jornada, 26 de julio de 2021)
Pegasus: cuatro años de impunidad en México (Animal Político, 25 de julio de 2021)
AMLO ordena enviar a la FGR contrato de compra de Pegasus mediante el Cisen(Proceso, 23 de julio de 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: