Since the article was published, FBI officials have acknowledged that they intended to deploy Pegasus, but stressed that the agency had primarily purchased spy equipment to test and evaluate – partly to assess how enemies could use it. He said the bureau had never used spyware in its operations.
During a congressional hearing in March, Ray told FBI Director Christopher A. Bureau that he had “acquired a limited license” to test and evaluate technology “not only from the point of view of whether it will one day be legally used, but also because it is evaluating existing technology in our day-to-day duties.” But most importantly what are the security issues with these products. ,
“So, it’s a lot different than using it to prosecute someone,” he said.
The Times reports that the FBI has also discovered a demo showing Phantom, another NSO hacking tool that can do what Pegasus cannot do. Cell phone numbers are being targeted and infiltrated. After the demonstrations, public prosecutors debated for years whether to buy or deploy the Phantom. Until last summer the FBI and the Department of Justice decided not to use NSO hacking tools in operation.
The FBI has paid the NSO nearly $ 5 million since the bureau first bought Pegasus.
The NSO has sued the FBI under the New York Times Freedom of Information Act for agency documents related to the purchase, testing and possible deployment of spyware tools. At a court hearing last month, a federal judge set an Aug. 31 deadline for the FBI to submit all relevant documents or commit contempt of court. Public prosecutors said the bureau had so far identified more than 400 pages of documents in response to the request.
The FBI’s letter to the NSO dated December 4, 2018 states that “the US government will not sell, distribute or transfer to any other party without the prior consent of the Government of Israel.”