Pilot-journalist targeted with spyware purchased by Hungarian secret service

György Pető, the former TV reporter, who has worked as a pilot for years found his number among suspected targets. [Shutterstock / mundissima]

A former TV reporter and pilots phone number appears in the leaked database of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected by the Israeli NSO Group’s clients, the Hungarian government, for Pegasus surveillance, Telex reported via Direkt36.

After learning about investigative stories detailing mass surveillance that were published in the summer of 2021, György Pető, the former TV reporter, who has worked as a pilot for years found his number among suspected targets.

Fidesz MP Lajos Kósa recently admitted that Hungary had bought the spyware. At the same time, government spokesperson minister Gergely Gulyás said that among the media reports about the Pegasus surveillance “somewhere there is some truth”.

Pető is known in the media industry for providing expert opinion on general aviation issues, but also for reports of corruption surrounding Hungary’s elite, including PM Viktor Orbán’s ally and billionaire Lőrinc Mészáros.

The ex-journalist-pilot also alleged that in 2015 he was personally met by the Counter-Terrorism Centre (TEK), the country’s special forces, which have asked him not to give information to journalists about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s private flights.

In 2018, a vehicle that appeared to be a surveillance car was parked at his permanent address, according to Pető.

The Hungarian government has not responded to questions about Pető’s targeting by the time of publication.

(Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | EURACTIV.com with Telex)

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