Emirates Leaks

UAE fears opening the black box of Israeli spy company NSO

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Informed sources told Emirates Leaks today that UAE’s officials have intensified their efforts to pressure Israel and the US to avoid opening the black box of the Israeli spying company, NSO.

The sources said that Emirati officials sense a significant danger after imposing US sanctions on NSO and the possibility that its executives might publish scandals of those dealing with the company.

The sources indicated that Abu Dhabi officially asked the Israeli government to save the NSO company jointly and prevent exposing its secrets.

NSO news dominated the international news headlines amid a foggy vision regarding its future after its blacklist designation.

Haaretz newspaper said that it is wrong to consider the company’s issue as a commercial or security issue. Rather, it is a political issue par excellence that exposes the corruption of the authorities in Israel and its allies, led by the UAE.

The newspaper confirmed that the company’s director pressured the Israeli government to help him remove the company’s name from the American blacklist. Otherwise, he would publish information that would embarrass politicians in Israel and its allies.

NSO suffered a significant setback in July when journalists and media outlets worldwide collaborated, revealing that thousands of phones were hacked by the Israeli company’s Pegasus spyware, including government officials, journalists and human rights activists.

The United States blacklisted NSO and another Israeli surveillance company called candiru a few days ago for allegedly harming the US national security.

In some cases, NSO deals surpassed $100 million in exchange for its services, which enjoyed an attractive preferential advantage. The Israeli government and the Ministry of Defense legalized its activities, making it attractive to many agents. In addition, the company was not interfering with the intentions of the buyers and the phones they wanted to hack. Even if the company knew for sure that the phones to be monitored did not belong to terrorists or criminals, which is what similar companies did.

This has made the company in recent years a destination for leaders and rulers willing to spend tens of millions of dollars in exchange for the company’s systems to spy on their opponents.

Prompted by the company’s promise to help the government at times of need and threats of revealing harmful secrets, Israel senior officials began to pressure the US government to remove the company from the blacklist. According to Haaretz, NSO’s founder, Shalev Hulio, messaged the Israeli Prime Minister saying: “If the government does not help save my company; I can publish a large amount of information that will embarrass the politicians and their friends in Israel!”

The newspaper reveals that Pegasus has become a significant attraction in developing Israel’s close relations with the UAE, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and others.

In addition to Netanyahu, the newspaper mentions that Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Mossad, who was very active in normalizing relations between Israel and the Gulf states included in the Abraham Accords, also sought to exploit the application to enter the business world after leaving politics.

Cohen was planning to set up an investment company in cooperation with the rulers of the Emirates and former US government officials, including Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The Pegasus software is considered a cyber-attack system. Therefore it cannot be sold outside Israel without the approval of the Ministry of Defense, which is supposed to supervise the sale to government agencies only, and for counter-terrorism purposes.

Unlike conventional weapons sold by Israel, the Pegasus software remains under its control after it is sold. The company can see which phones are being monitored by its customers.

However, the Israeli Ministry of Defense agreed to sell the application to several wealthy and influential people worldwide.

Hebrew reports reveal that the ruler of Dubai, Vice President of the Emirates, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, used the application to hack the phones of his second wife, Princess Haya and her lawyer.

A few days ago, the Hebrew media blew up a new resounding scandal for the UAE by revealing that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Rashid, had bought the Pegasus spy systems from Israel.

The Marker newspaper said that the Israeli spying company, NSO, sold to the UAE two copies of the Pegasus spyware program to hack personal phones.

The newspaper pointed out that Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Rashid bought the Pegasus program, as each of them separately paid tens of millions of dollars to obtain the spyware.