Addressing the lower house of the Parliament during its monsoon session that commenced today, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tore into the ultra-leftist propaganda website The Wire, for its shoddy reportage on the ‘Pegasus Project’. He hit out at the media outlet for publishing a highly sensational report, which was devoid of any substance.
The report by The Wire claimed that the Government is using spyware Pegasus to snoop on journalists, Indian ministers, Supreme Court judges, opposition leaders and other notable personalities.
Drawing the lower house’s attention towards the timing chosen to release the press report, Ashwini Vaishnaw said: “A highly sensational story was published by a web portal last night. Many over-the-top allegations were made around this story. The press reports appeared a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. This can’t be a coincidence”.
In the past, similar claims were made regarding use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports had no factual basis & were denied by all parties. Press reports of 18 July ’21 also appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy & its well-established institutions: Ashwini Vaishnaw— ANI (@ANI) July 19, 2021
The IT Minister added that in the past, similar allegations were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp.
Much the same as the report published by The Wire, those reports also had no factual basis and were denied by all parties, said Ashwini Vaishnaw, adding that the press reports of 18 July 2021 also appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.”
Israeli firm NSO mulls defamation suit against the leftist media outlet over ‘outrageous allegations’
Earlier in the day, OpIndia reported how, NSO, a Tel-Aviv based firm that owns the spyware Pegasus on Sunday slammed leftist media outlet, The Wire, and threatened to file a defamation suit against it for publishing the phoney report.
The Israeli firm, through its defamation counsel, Clare Locke, sent a letter to The Wire warning a defamation suit against them for making unsubstantiated claims through their reports about the surveillance of eminent individuals in India. NSO also said it was mulling a defamation suit against the writers of the Pegasus story as it is not based on facts and there are no supporting documents to corroborate the allegations.
The Israeli firm said that the claims of data being leaked from their server is an arrant lie and preposterous because they don’t store data on any of their servers.
The Wire reported that phones of ministers, opposition leaders and journalists were found on a database of targets for hacking by Pegasus
For the uninitiated, The Wire published an ‘investigative’ report on July 18, 2021, making tall claims about the government’s alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus to spy on 300 verified Indian mobile telephone numbers, including those used by ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists and others.
The report by The Wire furthered that the leaked database was accessed by Paris-based media nonprofit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and shared with The Wire, Le Monde, The Guardian, Washington Post Die Zeit, Suddeutsche Zeitung and 10 other Mexican, Arab and European news organisations as part of a collaborative investigation called the ‘Pegasus Project’.
BJP says The Wire is a habitual fake news peddler
Hitting out against The Wire’s sensationalist report that is devoid of any solid fact or evidence, former IT and Law minister RS Prasad stated that The Wire has a habit of spreading lies and it has published many articles based on fake news and misinformation in the past. He also added that similar claims have been made in the past and they were refuted decisively. He also added that such sensationalist news reports were deliberately published a day before the monsoon session to disrupt the parliament.