In an exclusive report by journalist Jamil Chade for Brazilian media outlet UOL, it was revealed that Operation Lava Jato had negotiated with the Israeli cyber-intelligence firm NSO for its Pegasus spyware, capable of monitoring private communications and the content of almost any smartphone, including remote access to its cameras and microphones in real time.
In recent weeks, it has been revealed that Pegasus has had world leaders and governments among its targets, and several states have purchased the software to spy on journalists and political adversaries.
El sistema Pegasus está diseñado desde hace una década por ex ciberespías israelíes para recopilar archivos, teléfonos inteligentes, y puede activar también cámaras y micrófonos para la vigilancia en tiempo real en momentos clave https://t.co/JRYh05DlVY pic.twitter.com/Ww1k9FEBkP
— MV (@Mision_Verdad) July 25, 2021
In a petition filed in Brazil’s Supreme Court, the defense team of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva revealed how Lava Jato prosecutors in Curitiba sought to create a clandestine cyber-espionage system. The plan was discovered in chat messages between members of Operation Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash).
According to the petition to the Supreme Court, “Operation Lava Jato had contact with various cyber-espionage weapons, including the aforementioned Pegasus.” The document was signed by Lula’s lawyers, Valeska Teixeira Martins and Cristiano Martins, reported the Brasil Wire news outlet.
Lula’s lawyers have complained for several years that Operation Lava Jato’s task force spied on his private and personal communications during the process that imprisoned his client, excluding him from the 2018 elections and allowing Jair Bolsonaro to win.
One of the chats from January 31, 2018 mentions a meeting between members of Lava Jato in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, and representatives of an Israeli company that sells a “technological solution” that “invades” mobile phones in real time (allows you to see location, etc.)”. This technology, according to the lawyers, would later be identified as Pegasus:
The FT-RJ (Rio de Janeiro Task Force) met today with another Israeli company, with a super advanced technological solution for investigations. The solution ‘invades’ mobile phones in real time (allows you to see the location, etc). They said they were impressed with the solution, that it was out of this world. There are issues, such as cost and legal hurdles for all functions (e.g. opening the mic to listen in real time). Anyway, the company rep will be here at the CWB, and we have made an appointment for 5:00 p.m. to come here. Anyone who can participate in the meeting will be great! (It even lets you see what they can/should be doing with our cellphones).”
Lula’s defense lawyers also demonstrated how, in 2017, members of the Lava Jato working group spoke of creating a special “bunker” in the office of their prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, for the operation of cyber-espionage software such as Pegasus and Verint/Cognyte.
The son of the Brazilian president, Carlos Bolsonaro, was directly involved in the negotiations for Pegasus. He was accused of trying to create a “parallel ABIN,” a spy agency that he and his family could effectively control.
Featured image: Jair Bolsonaro benefited from Operation Lava Jato, led by Sergio Moro (Photo: Adriano Machado/Reuters).
Translation: Orinoco Tribune