PM’s Office: Israel Did Not Hack French PM’s Phone

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls (C), at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem, May 23, 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) meets with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Prime Minister office in Yerushalayim, in May. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel did not try to hack into the phone of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on his recent visit to Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office said Thursday. “Israel sees France as a friend, and provides it with information as needed. We do not spy on friends. This story is utter nonsense.”

A report in the French newspaper L’Express Thursday said that the alleged hacking incident took place in late May, when Valls was in Israel to discuss the peace process with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to the report, Valls and his staff were asked to leave their cell phones with a security official while they met with Netanyahu.

When they retrieved their phones, the report said, several of the officials noticed that there was a problem – which the article dubbed an “anomaly” – on the devices. The officials submitted the devices to France’s National Agency for Computer Security (ANSSI), which did not comment publicly on the story.

According to Netanyahu’s Office, the devices were not given to an Israeli official, but to members of the French delegation who did not attend the meeting.