Israel’s Calcalist newspaper has called for an independent investigation into allegations that police used phone-hacking technology to illegally spy on people not suspected of any crime, saying on Monday that an official investigation has so far failed to his duty and that any internal investigation will be prosecuted by conflicts of interest.
Police investigations and an interim report by Deputy Attorney General Amit Marari found Calcalist reports earlier this year of the alleged espionage were largely incorrect, with none of the 26 people allegedly hacked having actually been targeted by the police.
In February, Calcalist reported, without providing evidence, that dozens of high-profile figures – including former ministry directors, business figures, family members and associates of the former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu – had been spied on by police using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. without any judicial control.
Marari was appointed to head a Justice Department committee that reviewed the claims.
The newspaper said on Monday that its sources passed information to Marari about the alleged police hack, but it was ignored by the committee.
Included in the information passed on, the sources provided a list of 19 people from the police who they said were involved in or had knowledge of espionage. They also described exactly where files containing information on alleged unauthorized espionage are kept in the offices of the police intelligence unit.
According to Calcalist, none of this information was used to compile the interim report.
The financial daily also noted the conflict of interest for those accused of wrongdoing to investigate on their own, saying the findings of Marari’s investigation were based on allegations by members of the spy unit of the police. He said many of those involved were still working in the police and argued that Marari’s investigation had “ignored” other key aspects of the allegations, such as the possible use of other spyware.
“It is to be hoped that the full report will deepen the substantive issues ignored by the interim report. However, in light of the interim report, we believe it is appropriate to refer the review, or investigation where appropriate, to an independent, authoritative and independent commission.
The call was picked up by Haaretz reporter Chaim Levinson, who tweeted a screenshot of the Calcalist story and wrote, “Marari is in the system. It was time for a real transparent external probe.
But Calcalist also offered a sort of mea culpa. “It is also possible that there were errors in our list. Until the conditions are met to testify with immunity, we cannot publicly display our evidence that the list is correct,” he said. cryptically stated.
While the document stressed that it did not suggest there had been a “conspiracy” or effort to circumvent the law, he said the interim report “apparently indicated a desire to create a protective narrative that would prevent the [further] development of discoveries.
The day after Marari published his initial findings, Justice Minister Gideon Saar said the allegations of illegal spying by police had been deemed “incorrect” and therefore unnecessary to report. open a government inquiry into the matter.