US company in talks to buy Pegasus spyware

US defense firm L3Harris is negotiating with Israel’s NSO Group to acquire the rights to controversial mobile phone spy software Pegasus, whose use in Spain to spy on politicians has sparked controversy.

As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, the operation would be justified by the financial needs of the NSO Group, and, if successful, L3Harris would limit the use of Pegasus to the United States and its Western partners.

Despite ongoing talks, it is not certain that the operation will materialize, in particular because of the reservations expressed by the American government, which considers that this software represents a “serious concern” for security and counter-terrorism efforts. American espionage.

NSO Group is on the US Department of Commerce’s “blacklist”, which limits its ability to use US technology, and a potential purchase of Pegasus by a US company would not automatically remove it from that list.

The Pegasus affair has sparked controversy in Spain since the Canadian institute Citizens Lab published that 63 separatist politicians and their entourage were being spied on.

Subsequently, the former director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Paz Esteban, admitted that among the separatist leaders spied on is the current president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, when he was vice-president.

The Spanish government has also acknowledged that the phones of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Defense Minister Margarita Robles and Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska were also being spied on.

A case for which the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, will have to testify as a witness before the magistrate of the Spanish National Court, José Luis Calama, who is investigating the case.

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