US company L3Harris discussing purchase of NSO Group surveillance tech

A senior White House official expressed concern regarding the implications of the potential deal on US national security.

The logo of L3Harris is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, July 1, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
The logo of L3Harris is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, July 1, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

US Defense contractor L3Harris is currently discussing the possibility of acquiring Israeli cyber company NSO Group's surveillance tools, The Guardian, The Washington Post and Haaretz jointly reported on Tuesday.

The Guardian cited multiple sources as saying the main subject of the talks was the potential sale of NSO's core code, in addition to the possible transfer of NSO Group employees to L3Harris.

The Guardian report added that neither the US nor the Israeli government has approved the agreement, posing a significant obstacle to the sale.

"Such a transaction, if it were to take place, raises serious counterintelligence and security concerns for the US government."

Senior White House official

According to the report, a senior White House official said that "such a transaction, if it were to take place, raises serious counterintelligence and security concerns for the US government."

Asked about the talks, a spokesman for L3Harris said only that "We are aware of the capability and we are constantly evaluating our customers’ national security needs. At this point, anything beyond that is speculation," the report added.

ISRAELI CYBER firm NSO Group’s exhibition stand is seen at ISDEF 2019, an international defense and homeland security expo held in Tel Aviv in 2019. (credit: KEREN MANOR)ISRAELI CYBER firm NSO Group’s exhibition stand is seen at ISDEF 2019, an international defense and homeland security expo held in Tel Aviv in 2019. (credit: KEREN MANOR)

NSO Scandal

Last year, it was brought to light that NSO Group had sold surveillance technology to numerous governments that subsequently used it to target activists, journalists and political dissidents.

The Jerusalem Post in February cited a Calcalist report alleging that the Israeli police used the software to conduct illegal surveillance on Israeli civilians, politicians, businessmen, journalists, ministers and more.

Tzvi Joffre and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.