NY Times: Israeli Companies Help Saudi Arabia Spy on Dissidents
Israeli electronic surveillance companies aid Saudi Arabia and provide it with spyware programs to extract information on local and international dissidents with the support of the Israeli authorities.
An article published by the New York Times yesterday, Saturday, revealed that "Israel" secretly authorized a group of cyber-surveillance firms to work for the government of Saudi Arabia.
It adds that despite the international condemnation of Saudi Arabia's abuse of the surveillance software to crush dissent, "Israel" was quick to aid the kingdom, even after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He added that the Israeli "NSO" group ended its contracts with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's murder in 2018, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but the Israeli government encouraged it and two other companies to continue working with the kingdom.
The Israeli government granted a new license to a fourth company to work with Saudi Arabia, overriding concerns about human rights violations, according to a senior Israeli official and three people associated with those companies who spoke to the newspaper.
The newspaper wrote that NSO is by far the best known of the Israeli firms, "largely because of revelations in the last few years that its Pegasus program was used by numerous governments to spy on, and eventually imprison, human rights activists."
It adds that NSO sold Pegasus to Saudi Arabia in 2017. However, the kingdom abused the spyware as part of a ruthless campaign to "crush dissent inside the kingdom and to hunt down Saudi dissidents abroad."
On the other hand, NSO denies having to do with Khashoggi's murder, and the Israeli-made spyware used in the plot is not publicly known.
The Israeli government licensed for Saudi a company called Candiru, which Microsoft accused last week of providing its government clients with information on more than 100 journalists, politicians, dissidents, and human rights advocates.
The newspaper notes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman secretly met with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several times.