The Pegasus ‘snoop gate’ story has taken mammoth proportions even though the entire story that was concocted by several media outlets, including The Wire, has fallen flat on its face. Now, Rahul Gandhi has come making some grave allegations on the back of the debunked Pegasus ‘snoopgate’ story. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed while talking to the media that “not just this” but “all his phones” are tapped.
Hilariously, being true to the moniker given to him by people, lovingly so, Rahul Gandhi says that people from the Intelligence Bureau call him up to inform him that his phone is being “tapped” and therefore, he should be careful about what he says.
Rahul Gandhi doesn’t stop there. He further says that his security personnel tell him that they have to debrief their own seniors about whatever Rahul Gandhi says in front of them. It is pertinent to remember that Rahul Gandhi is an SPG protectee and therefore gets Z+ security.
What is interesting to note here is the fact that Rahul Gandhi has used the Pegasus story to claim that not “just this” (meaning the phone number that appeared in the purported Pegasus list), but all his other phones have also been tapped.
However, his basic premise itself is incorrect. While Rahul Gandhi claims that “not just this phone was tapped”, the underlying assumption being made by him is that this phone of his, meaning the number which appeared in the questionable Pegasus list, was certainly tapped.
While Rahul Gandhi makes such statements, it is important to remember that the Pegasus “expose”, which has now been thoroughly debunked, never really claimed that Rahul Gandhi was indeed tapped. They merely worded their article carefully and slyly enough to mislead the people into making wild conjectures.
The Guardian had published an article where they claimed that Rahul Gandhi was another POTENTIAL target of snooping “by the Modi govt”. To make their point, which is not based on facts, the featured image they used contained the photo of Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
It is important to note that The Guardian only says that the number was “selected as a potential target”. The turn of phrase makes it sound like the Indian govt had planned to hack these phones, however, the truth is far from it. It is pertinent to note that in the previous stories published by The Guardian, it had itself, repeatedly said that merely the fact that a number appears in the list does not mean that the phone was hacked or that any NSO client even intended to hack the phone.
Essentially, The Guardian said that Rahul Gandhi’s numbers appear on the NSO list that they claim to have access to, however, there is no evidence that he was hacked or that anyone had planned to hack him, let alone the Indian govt that has refuted the claim that it even uses the Pegasus software.
Therefore, to further draw the link that the Indian government POTENTIALLY hacked Rahul Gandhi’s phones is a lie, one that is being spread by The Guardian with impunity.
Further, one also has to remember that now, Amnesty itself has alluded to the fact that the list of the 50,000 numbers that they claim to have access to is not an NSO list at all. They claim that they found some phones which were apparently infected with Pegasus and then, they basically accessed a list of “the kind of people” that “maybe potential targets”.
At this point in time, therefore, one does not even know where this list really came from and what the authenticity of this list is. While Amnesty claims to stand by its story, there are several crucial aspects that remain unanswered.
While Rahul Gandhi has, expectedly, used a suspicious story to claim that ‘all his numbers’ are being tapped by the Modi government, another claim he made is far more laughable. He claimed that Intelligence Bureau officers call him to inform him that his phone is being tapped and therefore, he should be careful about what he says. It is pertinent to note that in India, set guidelines are prescribed for the tapping of phones. Under Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraphic Act, 1885 state and central governments can tape phones, however, the guidelines and permissions required are extensive. No phone tapping is authorised without permission from the various departments involved and all departments have to fill out forms to justify the need for such tapping.
It is a bit fantastical for Rahul Gandhi to make allegations that he cannot substantiate since it is easier to make unverifiable statements that create an atmosphere of doubt. However, as of now, there is no proof that any of his phones are tapped – The Pegasus story has been a massive fail with no proof of any illegal tapping by the Indian government and further, while Rahul Gandhi speaks to friendly media and makes unsubstantiated claims, it must be remembered that he has provided no proof of his allegations other than his words – which let’s admit – are not exactly reliable.