Lajos Kósa, Chair of the Defense and Law Enforcement Committee, confessed to journalists following a hearing with Interior Minister Sándor Pintér that the Ministry of the Interior (BM) had purchased the Israeli Pegasus spyware, writes ATV.
“Was the Pegasus software obtained by the Department of the Interior?” asked a reporter from RTL Híradó, to which Kósa answered affirmatively.
According to Kósa, there is nothing objectionable about the purchase, as everything was lawful and the necessary permits were received from a judge and the Minister of Justice. He said members of the opposition-led National Security Committee had all had access to the documents.
Kósa also noted that large tech companies observe citizens much more widely than the state.
Following Kósa’s comments, the Ministry of the Interior wrote to Telex, “the Ministry has never commented on or qualified the statements made by members of parliament after committee meetings.”
“The Ministry of the Interior has stated, on many occasions, that Hungary’s democratic rule of law, national security and law enforcement services have not carried out illegal surveillance since 29 May 2010, and will not do in the future either,” said the Ministry’s statement.
In July, a series of fact-finding articles were published by Direkt36 together with a group of international journalists that Israeli NSO spyware Pegasus was used to monitor more than 50 countries, including Hungary. Targets included journalists and human rights defenders, but it was also revealed that Emmanuel Macron was also spied upon with the software.