El Salvador denies responsibility for hacking journalists after report finds Pegasus spyware on their phones

(CNN) El Salvador's government has denied responsibility for hacking the cell phones of at least 35 journalists and other members of civil society by using the spying program known as Pegasus .
The report claims that the hacking targeted at least 22 journalists from El Faro -- the influential El Salvadoran digital news outlet -- as well as journalists from several other outlets.
Carlos Dada, the founder and director of El Faro, alleges that the Salvadoran government is responsible for the hacking.
"It hasn't surprised us to know we were hacked but the amount, frequency and duration of the hacking did.
The report from Access Now and Citizen Lab said the attacks first began in July 2020 and continued until mid-November 2021.
"The use of Pegasus for the surveillance of communications in El Salvador reveals a new threat to human rights in the country," Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International Americas Director said in a Thursday statement.
Julia Gavarrete was one of the El Faro journalists whose phone was hacked.
"The government of El Salvador doesn't have the resources nor the licenses to utilize this type of software," Sofía Medina, Bukele's communication secretary said in a statement.
Medina said that the government is not connected to the use of Pegasus software, nor to the company that created it, an Israeli company called NSO Group.
CNN has asked the NSO Group for comment on the findings of the new investigation, but has not yet received a direct response.
NSO Group said that it only provides software and that it doesn't actively operate the technology -- nor does it have access to the data is subsequently collects.
El Salvador is one of 25 countries who governments had acquired surveillance systems from Circles, a company affiliated with NSO Group, according to a study published in December of 2020 by Citizen Lab.