Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeUS GovernmentLawmakers Signal Inquiries Into US Government’s Use of Foreign Spyware

Lawmakers Signal Inquiries Into US Government’s Use of Foreign Spyware

WASHINGTON — Senior lawmakers said they would investigate the government’s purchase and use of powerful spyware made by two Israeli hacking firms, as Congress passed a measure in recent days to try to rein in the proliferation of the hacking tools.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter last week to the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration asking for detailed information about the agency’s use of Graphite, a spyware tool produced by the Israeli company Paragon.
“Such use could have potential implications for U.S. national security, as well as run contrary to efforts to deter the broad proliferation of powerful surveillance capabilities to autocratic regimes and others who may misuse them,” Mr. Schiff wrote in the letter.
Graphite, like the more well-known Israeli hacking tool Pegasus, can penetrate the mobile phones of its targets and extract messages, videos, photos and other content. The New York Times revealed earlier this month that the D.E.A. was using Graphite in its foreign operations. The agency has said it uses the tool legally and only outside the United States, but has not answered questions about whether American citizens can be targeted with the hacking tool.



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