Spyware Firm NSO Asks Israeli Government to Help It Remove U.S. Sanctions

NSO's letter argued that the U.S. blacklisting arose from 'an orchestrated campaign by anti-Israel organizations' that would result in hundreds of employees losing their job

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NSO
NSO's officesCredit: JACK GUEZ - AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Spyware firm NSO urged Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other ministers from his government to pressure the U.S. government to lift sanctions imposed against the company, amid increasing evidence that its Pegasus software was used to spy on journalists and activists worldwide. 

The letter argued that the U.S. blacklisting arose from "an orchestrated campaign by anti-Israel organizations" that would result in hundreds of employees losing their job, a report by Israeli news site Walla said.

On Thursday, the company was dogged by further crises: the news that the company's CEO, Itzik Benbenisti, announced his resignation after just two weeks in the job was followed by the revelation that three senior Palestinian officials found the software on their phones, with one of them responsible for submitting evidence of potential Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court. 

In another unwanted first for the firm on Thursday, Mexico's attorney general found that a private company used Pegasus spyware to hack a journalist's phone, countering claims by Israel's Defense Ministry that the software is only sold to governments.  

Earlier in the week, the New York Times cited two senior Israeli officials in reporting that the Israeli government considers the cyber-ware a crucial component of its foreign policy and national security, and would petition Washington to remove the company from the blacklist.

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