The attempts by the American defense contractor L3 Harris to purchase the Pegasus spying and hacking tech from a blackballed Israeli company were supported by the US government authorities. The controversial spyware company, NSO Group, was placed on the government’s no-buy list during the tenure of the Joe Biden administration due to its actions intervening in privacy.

Hacking into the phones of political leaders, human rights activists, and journalists worldwide has been implemented with the aid of Pegasus by governments worldwide.

The defense contractor L3 Harris, who has previous experience in spyware technology, cited support from intelligence officials in its proposition to purchase the Israeli spyware company, according to NY Times. 

A team of executives from L3 Harris has secretly visited Israel multiple times in recent months to purchase NSO Group, even though Washington has positioned it on a “blacklist” for the abuse of military-grade malware known as Pegasus for espionage operations, the report said.

After their discussions in June were widely disclosed, L3 Harris decided to withdraw from the negotiations with NSO Group. Since November 2021, the NSO Group has been placed on the Entity List of the Commerce Department’s Blacklist, which prevents companies in the US from engaging in commercial transactions with the Israeli company.

It was alleged that L3 Harris was taken aback when a top White House official voiced serious doubts about any potential deal shortly after the news of the talks was first made public. 

According to the report, L3 Harris was unaware of these reservations. However, about a month ago, a senior White House official mentioned that any potential arrangement might be interpreted as an attempt by a foreign power to get around the export control mechanisms that the US has in place.

However, A US official challenges the intelligence officials’ support for the story, indicating that they are “unaware of any indications of support or involvement from anyone in decision-making, policymaking or senior role.