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NYT: MBS Called Netanyahu to Renew NSO Spyware License

 NYT: MBS Called Netanyahu to Renew NSO Spyware License
folder_openMiddle East... access_time3 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

The New York Times revealed Friday that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly phoned "Israel's" then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to renew the kingdom's expired license for NSO Group's Pegasus spyware.

After the license expired, “Israel's” War Ministry decided against renewing it, under the pretext that Saudi Arabia abused the Pegasus spyware. They referred to the case of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist tracked with the spyware in the lead up to his 2018 murder.

NSO could not provide maintenance to the software without the license, causing systems to crash. Calls to NSO executives, the Mossad, and “Israel's” War Ministry failed to solve the issue, according to the report.

This prompted the crown prince to place an urgent call to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu was not updated on the crisis, but after the conversation with Prince Mohammad, his office ordered the military establishment to solve the problem, The New York Times unveiled.

A crucial part of the agreement was using Saudi airspace by "Israeli" planes flying eastward on their way to the Gulf ahead of the so-called 'Deal of The Century', which normalized "Israeli" ties with several Gulf countries.

"The claims… are a complete fabrication," a statement released by Netanyahu's office claimed, according to The Jerusalem Post.

"All sales of [NSO's Pegasus] systems or similar products of ‘Israeli’ companies to foreign nations are made with the approval and supervision of the ‘Defense’ Ministry, as required by ‘Israeli’ law."