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28 Jan 2019

Raphael Satter, The Associated Press, in Seattle Times (USA)

Citizen Lab targeted by undercover operatives after exposing NSO Group's connection to Khashoggi’s murder

"APNewsBreak: Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog", 25 Jan 2019

[R]esearchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on...journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his...death are being targeted...by international undercover operatives... Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance and the details of their personal lives... [T]he researchers believe they were secretly recorded. Citizen Lab,...played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in...Tibet , Ethiopia and Syria . [They drew] [a]ttention for its repeated exposés...NSO Group,... whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico, opposition...in Panama and... rights activists in the Middle East... NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization. “Any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect and nothing more than baseless speculation...”. NSO has long denied that its software was used to target Khashoggi, although it...refused to comment when asked whether it...sold its software to the Saudi government...generally...