The ultra-leftist propaganda website The Wire Sunday made misleading assertions that the government of India is using spyware Pegasus to snoop on journalists, Indian ministers, Supreme Court judges, opposition leaders and other notable personalities. This got the ball rolling for the opposition parties and their friendly media houses, which within no time launched a propaganda offensive against the Modi government. NDTV, too, was quick to jump on the bandwagon.
The media house promptly put out a Tweet quoting IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw as saying in the lower house of the Parliament during its monsoon session that commenced today: “No factual basis to suggest use of Pegasus amounts to surveillance”.
NDTV misquotes IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
However, in its excitement to malign Modi government, NDTV landed up misquoting the IT Minister. The fact is that the remark NDTV attributed to the IT Minister was actually that of the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, which in its statement denied any snooping using its Pegasus software and has described the report by Forbidden Stories as “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories”.
NSO’s statement that NDTV attributed to the IT Minister
If one hears IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s speech in the lower house of the Parliament, it can be clearly heard that the minister had quoted an excerpt from the statement issued by NGO Group, hours after the ultra-leftist propaganda website The Wire published a report claiming that the Government is using spyware Pegasus to snoop on journalists, Indian ministers, Supreme Court judges, opposition leaders and other notable personalities.
NSO had in its statement said that they “have a good reason to believe the claims that are made by the unnamed sources to Forbidden Stories, are based on misleading interpretations of data from accessible and overt basic information, such as HLR Lookup services, which have no bearing on the list of the customers targets of Pegasus or any other NSO products. Such services are openly available to anyone, anywhere, and anytime, and are commonly used by governmental agencies for numerous purposes, as well as by private companies worldwide”.
“We firmly deny the false allegations made in their report. Their sources have supplied them with information which has no factual basis, as evident by the lack of supporting documentation for many of their claims”, read NSO group’s statement.
IT Minister slams The Wire for its misleading report on the ‘Pegasus Project’
Addressing the monsoon session of the Parliament IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had torn 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.
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 also 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.
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.
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.