The Hungarian government also purchased Pegasus spyware, according to a source in the Washington Post. Orbán’s closet still doesn’t provide a clear answer.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said Tuesday that the European Commission will investigate abuses in a wiretapping scandal involving Israeli Pegasus spyware. He explained that investigations in member states are subject to monitoring. The question is whether there will ever be an investigation in Hungary that the European Commission can follow. In Hungary, not only is the question that there is no investigation yet, but even the convening of the National Security Committee is questionable. Janos Stomer, the right-wing head of the body, had already tried to do so, but the majority of the committee’s pro-government members rejected it, citing that the national security bodies abide by the law. Stummer is now making another attempt to convene the commission, with Interior Minister Sándor Pintér writing that he will answer the issues raised in the case at a closed-door meeting of the Governing Council. Meanwhile, Stummer has filed a personal data breach for misuse of the computer system. The Attorney General’s office told us that “the report is under investigation by our competent and competent departments.” (In France, the pace is different: Agence France-Presse reported that the investigation had already begun after French journalists involved in the Pegasus case went to court on Monday to monitor Morocco’s command of an Israeli spy program.) Investigative journalists were there, too – he found out that in many countries, politicians, journalists, mayors and businessmen used the Israeli NSO’s Pegasus program, which listened on smartphones and was sold to governments exclusively for law enforcement and counter-terrorism purposes. There are 50,000 publications in the NSO database sent to investigative journalists, of which 300 are Hungarian. Several Hungarian journalists and a businessman have found traces of spyware on their phones. It is not known who used the spyware against Hungarian targets, but according to Direkt36, several circumstances strongly suggest that Hungarian authorities used the software. The Hungarian government does not answer questions about whether it purchased and used Pegasus. On the other hand, the Washington Post wrote about an NSO employee who requested that his name be withheld, saying that the Hungarian state was an agent of a spyware company.
According to our sources, only the National Security Service (NBSZ), which technically carried out the intercepts and other observations, can legally deploy Pegasus at home. We also contacted the National Statistics Office, in response to this, the Ministry of the Interior sent the letter sent by the head of the Ministry, Sindoor Pinter, to representatives of the opposition. In it he did not deny that the services of the Ministry of the Interior had used the program, but emphasized that since 2010 the Hungarian national security services have not carried out any illegal surveillance. “There is no example of such a serious surveillance scandal since the regime change,” said a source familiar with the services’ work, who said the government used the software to monitor political opponents. In addition, he added, a complete monitoring of “normal” wiretapping is carried out here: as soon as the program penetrates the smartphone of the target person, they access not only their conversations and messages, but the phone itself becomes a bug and a camera. According to him, if the Hungarian intelligence requested and obtained permission from the Minister of Justice for such a level of surveillance against Fidesz’s political opponents, this is very worrying and needs to be clarified which authority, and for what reasons, referred the people involved for questioning. In principle, this should remain in three places: in the specialized service, in the licensing department, and in the applicant. According to our source, it is not at all true that secret services could easily have obtained such permission prior to 2010. “There was an hour and a half of thought for the minister to explain why it was necessary to eavesdrop on someone,” recalls a source who said it was not the case of a minister refusing a referral. If the justification is not comprehensive enough. However, in his opinion, it is now doubtful what kind of justification the petitioner could have used, for example, in the case of the Mayor of Godolo, Giorgi Gemisi or Odam Simekska. According to our sources, the fact-finding statement that Hungarian numbers were in the NSO database also raises serious questions. It is not known how an Israeli company could obtain the data of Hungarian citizens.
Israel has not yet opened an investigation
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced Tuesday that Israel is “considering” information that several governments have used the NSO Group Pegasus spyware program to monitor journalists, human rights defenders and politicians. The ministry had already indicated on Sunday that if the NSO was found to have violated the terms of its export licenses, it would “take appropriate action.” A member of the current ruling coalition, the radical left-wing Meretz party, is the only Israeli party demanding a review of NSO’s activities and that the Defense Ministry revoke the company’s export license by the time of the investigation. NSOs can only export their electronic technology products with the permission of the Department of Defense. However, the export and distribution of cyber products is regulated by the Defense Export Control Act 2007. Accordingly, the export of electronic products can only be approved by government agencies for legitimate use and only for the purpose of crime prevention, investigation and counter-terrorism, and the purchasing government must provide the end-user certificate. Israeli government spokesmen have consistently emphasized that the country does not have access to information collected by UFO agents. However, according to public information, Pegasus are regularly used by dictatorships to monitor their internal opponents. NSO has so far refuted the released data and still does not disclose which governments purchased its spyware.
On vacation in St. Petersburg
From the community side, MP Ákos Hadházy announced that he will write to Attila Péterfalvi, head of the Data Protection Authority, with a written submission on the spyware issue. Regardless of Hazazi’s entry, our newspaper also contacted Petervalve, asking if his office would initiate an investigation. It turns out that the head of the data protection authority will be on vacation until the beginning of August: he said that he can respond on the merits after that. Czechoslovakia. NS.
The story of a small Hungarian wiretapping from UD case to Black Cube
These days the surveillance scandal linked to the Israeli NSO has not erupted, which first raised suspicions that what happened might have been politically motivated. Several of Fides’ main politicians – such as Laszlo Kofer, the current Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, and Erwin Demeter, the former Minister of Secret Services – had close contacts with the leaders of UD Zrt. The company’s first CEO was Josef Horvat, deputy director general for operations at the former Office of National Security (NBH) – now the Office of Constitutional Protection – who later became deputy director general of the Office of Military Security after a change of government in 2010 and now serves as a security policy expert. in the government press. Telephone conversations recorded in the so-called UD case were made public and there were attempts to influence the MDF presidential election. The scandal erupted in September 2008, when MDF chief David Ibolia claimed – and he voiced this – that certain constituencies had entrusted UD Zrt with collecting data on him, which further undermined his chances of re-election. Hvg.hu later learned that the conversation took place between János Tóth, UD Leader and OTP President Sándor Csányi, referring to István Stumpf, former President of the End of the Century Foundation, András Tombor, former Head of Foreign Affairs and Security to Viktor Orbán Policy Adviser, and of Cornell Diamond, Who wanted to be the president of the MDF Foundation. The story, of course, ended in court, and David Ibolia and Karoly Herini were convicted under duress as perpetrators, forcing Almasi to retreat using audio material. UD Zrt later, already during the period of the Fides government, received state compensation in the amount of HUF 266 million due to the fact that the company was reported as having committed crimes. Even after 2010, people were suspected of being monitored for political reasons. Former MEP Benedik Gavor, who is also very active in the PAX enlargement issue, posted on Facebook in 2015 that he was likely to be intercepted. “When you talk to a civil rights activist on the phone, the line starts to fray and unexpectedly starts restarting your conversations from the beginning while the person you called on your other phone called – that’s invaluable,” the MP wrote. An illegal objection could have occurred, and Fidesse representatives withheld the case at a closed-door meeting of the National Security Committee in June 2016. Workers found an error at the Eötvös Károly Institute for Public Policy, founded by the Soros Foundation, where the police launched an investigation but found nothing. A wiretapping device was also found in the MTVA Building, the then-commissioned office of the MTVA President in Miklós Vaszily. However, the Prosecutor’s Office is the case and others, with inexplicable reason that the act is not a criminal offence, as MTVA offices cannot be the scene of illegal data acquisition from the outset. In 2018, a heavy, private secret service was working on behalf of Hungarian civilians: agents of the Israeli-backed intelligence firm Black Cube, mostly former soldiers, also approached a number of local NGOs and invited them to a foreign meeting to extract information. who are they. It was one of the organizations contacted that went to the meeting, and then the audio recording of the conversation “reached” the Hungarian Times, where Zolt Baer wrote expired articles on the subject. At the same time, the Israeli team fell into its own trap: one of the contacted organizations suspected and also recorded the entire conversation. One of the targets, the head of Migration Aid, immediately heads to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, so the Hungarian response also noted what happened. In the end, it turns out that the Black Cube was behind the event. The Israeli press admitted that they carried out the operation, but they denied that the Hungarian government had entrusted them. According to them, there was a business dispute between Gyorgy Soros and another influential billionaire, which has nothing to do with the Hungarian elections. What exactly billionaire was interested in the expulsion of civilians according to Fidesz’s speech during the Hungarian elections is a mystery.
Lawyers are under surveillance
In 2016, an internal investigation was launched at the Budapest Bar Association (BÜK) where a number of reports were received that “authorities” were wiretapping lawyers. Many noted that the investigating authorities requested information that was mentioned only in the office or in a telephone conversation with the client. Although there was a case in which it was established that the authorities only obtained permission to eavesdrop on the fly, in general, the BÜK report did not incriminate the authorities.