Pegasus project: Dalai Lama’s inner circle could be targeted

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 22 July

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered an investigation into the phone numbers of him and 14 of his cabinet colleagues that appeared in a leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus project, while the latest revelations by a consortium of media houses suggest that the Dalai Lama The inner circle may have been targeted.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International denied Union Minister of State Meenakshi Lekhi’s contention that the human rights body had refuted the list circulating in the media.

“In response to false allegations on social media and false media stories regarding the Pegasus Project,” Amnesty International said it unequivocally stands by the findings. This data is “indefinitely linked to potential targets” of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, it said.

The latest set of revelations touched India when it emerged that for two years, the closest circle of advisors around the Dalai Lama were potential targets of surveillance by a client of Israeli spyware firm NSO Group.

The numbers include the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorji, who fled India in 2018 without the knowledge of Indian intelligence services.

The Dalai Lama’s envoy in New Delhi Tempa Tsering, senior aides Tenzin Takla, Chimmi Rigzen, Samdhong Rinpoche and Lobsang Sangay were also on the list.

French Prime Minister Jean Casteux said the president had ordered a series of investigations “to look very closely at this given the potential seriousness”. The former minister’s mobile phone has shown digital traces of activity.

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