In an exclusive report by journalist Jamil Chade for UOL it has been revealed
that disgraced anti-corruption operation Lava Jato had negotiated with Israeli
Cyber weaponry firm NSO for its Pegasus spyware, which is capable of monitoring
the private communications and content of almost any smartphone, including
remote access of its cameras and microphone in real time.
In recent weeks Pegasus has been revealed to have world leaders and governments
among its targets, and various states have bought the software to spy on
journalists and political opponents.
In a petition filed at the Supreme Court, the defence team of former president
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva revealed how Lava Jato prosecutors in Curitiba sought
to create a system of clandestine cyber espionage. The plan was discovered in
chat messages between Operation Lava Jato members.
According to the Supreme Court petition Operation Lava Jato had contact with
providers of "several cyber espionage weapons, including the aforementioned
Pegasus". The document is signed by Lula's lawyers Valeska Teixeira Martins and
Lula's lawyers have for several years complained of having their private and
personal communications spied upon by Operation Lava Jato task force during the
process which jailed their client, excluding him from the 2018 election and
enabling Jair Bolsonaro's victory. Earlier, Lava Jato and Judge Sergio Moro had
illegally intercepted telephone conversations between Lula and then president
Dilma Rousseff, which were edited and released to the media, strengthening the
campaign to remove her from office.
One of the chats from January 31, 2018 quotes 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:
Lula's defence lawyers also point out how in 2017, with the lawfare campaign
against their client ongoing, Lava Jato task force members spoke of creating a
special "bunker" in the office of its prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, for the
operation of cyber espionage software such as NSO's Pegasus, and products from
Secret Military Meeting
In June 2019, Military top brass gathered in secrecy to address the
then-suspected hacking of Lava Jato judge Sergio Moro's smartphone. According
to a source who was at the meeting, among those who participated in the meeting
was then government secretary, General Santos Cruz. Two tools were presented at
the meeting, one of them the Pegasus system. When looking at the software
however, Santos Cruz was allegedly critical, and warned President Bolsonaro
about the danger of bringing the NSO tool to Brazil.
After learning of the secret meeting, the president's son Carlos Bolsonaro, who
was directly involved in the negotiations for Pegasus, pushed for General Santos
Cruz's dismissal. Seven days later he resigned, creating a crisis in the
Strikingly, Brazil's intelligence agency ABIN and Institutional Security Office
GSI were, unlike Carlos Bolsonaro, not involved in the negotiations with the
Israeli company, and the president's son was accused of trying to create a
"parallel ABIN" - a spy agency that he and his family could effectively control.