Edwy Plenel’s phone shows traces of Pegasus attacks that occurred in July and August 2019. A forensic analysis of the phone, conducted by Amnesty International’s Security Lab in partnership with Forbidden Stories, confirmed that the attack used an iMessage (iPhone) vulnerability to penetrate the phone. A colleague of Plenel, Lenaïg Bredoux, was also targeted using the same technology.
Who is he?
Ewdy Plenel is the founder and director of the French investigative news site Mediapart.
Plenel is well-known in France for the numerous investigations he has led since the 1980s, particularly about former president François Mitterand, when he was a reporter for the daily newspaper Le Monde. He was such a thorn in the president’s shoe that he was put under surveillance. It was revealed in 1993 that the presidency had tapped his phone to figure out who his sources were.
In 1996, he became executive editor of Le Monde before starting, a decade later, his own online investigative news outlet, Mediapart.
Plenel is known for his left-wing opinions — he started out as a reporter for the French Communist Party’s newspaper — and for the supporting human rights both in France and abroad. He has publicly supported human rights defenders in Morocco, including at a public forum in Essaouira just a month before his phone was attacked.
Moroccan authorities said there was no proof of them being a client of NSO Group. NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”