Remember the NSO Group?
If you don’t, they were the notorious makers of the Pegasus spyware, which was extremely sophisticating in infecting iPhones and Android devices.
Recently, a huge U.S. government defense contractor, called L3Harris Technologies, Inc., has been in talks to acquire the group.
However, L3Harris ended talks after security concerns were raised by the Biden administration.
The administration’s concerns were outlined in a White House press release, stating that L3Harris’s acquisition of NSO Group’s spyware would “pose a serious counterintelligence and security risks to U.S. personnel and systems,” and that the Pegasus spyware had “been misused around the world to enable human rights abuses, including to target journalists, human rights activists, or others perceived as dissidents and critics.”
So why did talks end?
Apparently, one arm of the U.S. government wasn’t in agreement with the other.
According to Stephanie Kirchgaessner:
A person familiar with the talks said L3 Harris had vetted any potential deal for NSO’s technology with its customers in the US government and had received some signals of support from the American intelligence community. [But,] sources said, L3Harris had been caught off guard when a senior White House official expressed strong reservations about any potential deal.
While some American intelligence officials quietly support the plans to purchase NSO, whose technology had been of intense interest to the FBI and CIA for years, talks of the purchase seemed to blindside White House officials, who were outraged by the attempt.
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