Khashoggi’s Widow Sues Israeli Spyware Company NSO over Phone Hacking

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Photo: POMED, via Wikimedia Commons)

The widow of murdered Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, stated that surveillance software built by the Israeli surveillance company, NSO Group, was used to spy on her messages in the months leading up to her husband’s death, Reuters news agency reported.

In a civil suit filed Thursday in the Northern District of Virginia, Hanan Elatr Khashoggi said that NSO “intentionally targeted” her devices and “caused her immense harm, both through the tragic loss of her husband and through her own loss of safety, privacy and autonomy”.

NSO initially said it had not seen the lawsuit. When the firm was sent a copy, it did not immediately respond. The company – which markets surveillance technology to intelligence agencies and law enforcement worldwide – has previously denied that its technology was used to hack Khashoggi.

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Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was murdered on the grounds of Saudi Arabia’s Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

US intelligence concluded in 2021 that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the Crown Prince and has maintained that Khashoggi’s killing was a heinous crime by a rogue group.

Saudi use of the Pegasus spying tool has come up in other controversial cases. Last year, Reuters reported that an attempt by Saudi authorities to wield Pegasus against Saudi women’s rights activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, backfired, allowing researchers to uncover thousands of other victims and triggering a cascade of legal and government action.


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