Based on the leaked list of the NSO Group’s foreign clients containing the phone numbers the Pegasus used to hack, two leaders of the Presidential Guard became targets of the spyware for months in 2019.
According to telex.hu, Sándor Pomozi was the creator and commander of the Presidential Guard. The other target was one of his closest colleagues, Attila Viplak, who protected President Áder and his family on private programs and during their travels abroad. Pomozi is considered one of the best bodyguards in the country. For example,
he was in charge of guaranteeing the safety of all the guests at the wedding of PM Orbán eldest daughter, Ráchel.
The targets had every information about the president’s daily schedule, including his unofficial programs. Pomozi had all information about Áder’s family members as well. Meanwhile, Viplak was so important that he was designated to move into a secret bunker with Áder provided a terrorist or military attack.
Direkt36, a Hungarian investigative media outlet, could identify their phone numbers on a list leaked and containing all the foreign clients of the NSO Group which made the Pegasus spyware. The government used Pegasus to hack both Viplak’s personal and business phones in 2019 summer. In the case of Pomozi, the duration of
using the spyware was several months.
The database journalists obtained and reviewed does not tell who used the spyware against Hungarian targets. However, Lajos Kósa, a government politician, admitted that the administration bought and used it. Among the targets, there were journalists, media tycoons, opposition politicians, government and even national security officers.
The government keeps saying that the surveillance was legal. They did not respond to the questions of the Direkt36, just like the Counter-Terrorism Centre. The Presidential Office said that they did not want to comment on the article.
Pomozi, currently leading the Presidential Guard, said that he could not talk to the media.
However, Attila Viplak, who no longer works for the President, gave detailed answers.
He highlighted that those targeting them gained every information about the President and his family. If those had fallen in the wrong hands, that could have affected their safety, he added.
Between 2012 and 2015, the president’s bodyguards worked as members of the Counter-Terrorism Centre. However, Áder’s trust eroded in 2015 when his bodyguards found a suspicious device in his residence. Brigitta Csikász, a crime reporter, wrote that Áder realized in 2014:
the Counter-Terrorism Centre (CTC) fed the prime minister information concerning his private and family programs, including his travels abroad.
That was likely because Áder was a member of a group of Fidesz politicians, who criticized PM Orbán after the lost elections of 2002 and 2006. Moreover, PM Orbán also believed that Áder’s circle played a part in losing them. Therefore, the prime minister’s trust was not 100 pc in the President.
Therefore, in 2015, Áder’s bodyguards created the Presidential Guard and abandoned the CTC. In 2019, the conflict returned, and that is when Pomozi and Viplak became targets of the Pegasus.
Of course, the leaked database does not prove that the phones were hacked. But they were on the list and,
provided the hack was successful they accessed all information.
Moreover, they could turn on the camera and the microphone remotely.
Viplak said that not spying on him was the real danger but spying on his commander, Sándor Pomozi. Pomozi had private talks with the President and regularly spoke on a mobil phone with him.