Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware come to light in a special partnership between Exile Content Studios and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Hosts Rose Reid and Nando Vila examine the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his inner circle that had the world's most sophisticated military-grade spyware confirmed on their phones. It's called Pegasus. How did this spyware come to be, how does it work, and how vulnerable are you? Every other week Shoot The Messenger investigates Pegasus, the Israeli technology company that makes it, the NSO Group, and the cyber war industry that is booming around it. You have heard the headlines — this is the deep dive.
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We partnered with our friends at Reveal for a special episode on Pegasus, “The Spy Inside Your Smartphone,” featuring a deeper dive in the hacking of the El Faro newsroom in El Salvador and an interview with co-host Rose Reid. Reveal, hosted by Al Letson, is a weekly investigative news show. You can hear it weekly on your local NPR station, or subscribe here. We are hard at work on Season 2, which will air in early 2024. In the meantime, every month, we will bring you a special bonus episode - it will be either an update on Pegasus, or a teaser for our upcoming season Haiti, or we will bring you a new show we think you will love. Stay tuned for a special episode on Pegasus in October.
A chilling wave of murders sweeps through Little Haiti, a Miami neighborhood that is home to many Haitian exiles. The victims are radio broadcasters, using the airwaves to demand democracy at home. Little Haiti is up in arms, calling for justice for the fallen heroes, but the investigation stalls. To this day, the masterminds remain free. And rumors persist … about cocaine trafficking, CIA assets, and transnational coups. Ana Arana, who first investigated the crimes thirty years ago, teams up with Oz Woloshyn to find answers to a case that continues to haunt her.
We're taking a brief hiatus, but here's a sneak peak into what we're working on for Shoot The Messenger season two! For our second season of Shoot the Messenger, we are doing a special collaboration with reporter David Adams to tell a story that continues to be a mystery, the assassination of the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse
Captain Humberto Coral was a key member in the Search Bloc that hunted down and killed notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. Only a few months after the killing of Escobar, Captain Coral was mysteriously killed in the streets of Medellín. His son, Beto, grows up asking himself who was responsible for his father’s death?
On March 29, Russian authorities arrested Evan and accused him of spying on Russia on behalf of the US government. Evan was imprisoned in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, where he remains today. In this special episode from Project Brazen, you’ll hear from those close to Evan — his friends, newsroom colleagues, even his former soccer coach — about his shocking arrest, efforts to bring him home, and how he became the journalist he is today. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/free-evan-gershkovich-how-a-us-reporter-was/id1585848867?i=1000613477446 Evan is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since the Cold War. The charge, which The Journal vehemently denies, can carry a sentence of up to 20 years. To support the campaign for Evan’s release or send him a message of support, visit www.freegershkovich.com.
A special bonus episode from one of our favorite podcasts, Click Here. Click Here is a podcast about the world of cyber and intelligence hosted by Dina Temple-Raston. Click Here did a special episode about Pegasus spyware in Mexico: Classified documents and internal memos in a new report from digital activists in Mexico make clear the Mexican Army systematically deployed Pegasus spyware against local journalists and activists. R3D, a Mexican digital rights group, and University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, also discovered the existence of a formerly unknown military intelligence unit whose sole purpose appears to be secret surveillance and deployment of spyware. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/click-here/id1225077306
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware concludes its first season with its tenth episode. Up until now, this show has focused on the use of Pegasus in foreign countries. But while we were in the middle of releasing the episodes of this season, a pair of New York Times journalists published a bombshell report that showed that the US government is making monthly payments to the NSO Group despite the official blacklisting of the company. Last month, Mark Mazzetti and Ronen Bergman published an article in the New York Times describing the secret deal that occurred between the US government and the NSO Group. Guests: New York Times Reporters Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti We'd like to extend a special thanks to the Committee to Protect Journalists for their special collaboration on the first season of Shoot the Messenger. For more information on the status of journalists and freedom of the press - visit at cpj.org. Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its ninth episode, a conversation with Sandrine Rigaud and Laurent Richard of Forbidden Stories, the organization behind the Pegasus Project. Published in July 2021, the findings of the Pegasus Project sent shockwaves throughout the world. The leaked data showed that at least 180 journalists had been selected as targets of Pegasus spyware in countries like India, Mexico, Hungary, Morocco and France, among others. One of the possible targets? Current French president Emmanuel Macron. Sandrine and Laurent describe what it was like to watch these cases play out in real time. Donncha Ó Cearbhaill of Amnesty International worked alongside the Forbidden Stories team running forensics on potential targets’ cell phones, searching for evidence of infection. The work they did together changed everything. Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio. Guests: Sandrine Rigaud, Laurent Richard and Donncha Ó Cearbhaill
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its eighth episode, a special interview with acclaimed journalist Carlos Dada about the intense targeting of him and his newsroom, El Faro, in El Salvador. El Faro is no stranger to threats and intimidation - which has increased under the administration of President Nayib Bukele. Pegasus was used to spy on Carlos Dada for more than a 100 days in a row. Between June 2020 to November 2021, more than 20 members of El Faro were infected with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware. John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab worked to identify the El Faro breach — this was one of the most obsessive cases of spying Citizen Lab has ever seen. Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio. Guests: Carlos Dada and John Scott-Railton
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its seventh episode, revealing a pattern of Pegasus as a bargaining chip for foreign relations. Over the past decade, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - there is a direct correlation between his travels, his meet and greets with world leaders…and the proliferation of Pegasus spyware. Where Netanyahu goes, Pegasus seems to follow. As Netanyahu asserts his control over a divisive Israel, should we expect to see an increase in the scope of NSO Group's capabilities in digital surveillance? This industry has boomed during Netanyahu's tenure - and he has famously said, "Don't over-regulate." Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio. Guests: Keshet’s Amitai Ziv; Financial Times’ Mehul Srivastava; Citizen Lab’s Scott Stedman
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its sixth episode, breaking down the private equity funds behind the makers of Pegasus. The NSO Group has grown from a few founders working in a renovated chicken coop to being valued at over $2 billion dollars. Where did that money come from? We dive into the complex financial web behind the NSO Group, with a structure supported by pension funds, potential clients, and power players, and how they went from being valued in the billions to being strapped for cash. Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio. Confirmed guests: Financial Times’ Kaye Wiggins; Keshet journalist Amitai Ziv; Oregon activist Sravya Tadepalli
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its fifth episode. As WhatsApp and Facebook bring NSO to court in the federal court, the future of the NSO Group is in jeopardy and their tactics are further exposed. After Pegasus breached WhatsApp - it started a chain reaction of negative events for the NSO Group, calling into question their valuation of $2B, making a public enemy of Silicon Valley, causing them to be blacklisted in the US, and initiating several major lawsuits leading all the way to the Supreme Court. Five months after the Pegasus breach, WhatsApp and their parent company Facebook (now Meta) filed a lawsuit against NSO Group in California. Apple followed suit, setting up a showdown between Silicon Valley and the NSO Group. And that’s not all - groups such as Access Now, Amnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists banded together to file an amicus brief in support of the WhatsApp lawsuit. The potential legal ramifications of these cases could affect everyone with a smartphone - even you. Guests: Access Now's counsel Natalia Krapiva; Attorney Kyle McLorg Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its fourth episode, exposing what really happened at WhatsApp when it was breached by Pegasus in 2019. The WhatsApp breach is a critical moment because it has put everything the NSO Group has built at risk - calling into question their valuation of $2B, making a public enemy of Silicon Valley, and initiating several major lawsuits leading all the way to the Supreme Court. In many ways, this exploit changed the trajectory of the NSO Group and its Pegasus spyware. The continuous fallout - and potential legal precedents - could affect everyone with a smartphone. Engineers Claudiu Dan Gheorghe and Otto Ebeling take us behind the scenes of what it was like to be working at WhatsApp that fateful day where Pegasus used an exploit on the WhatsApp software. Across the globe, we'll see how the hacking of WhatsApp affected real people - like those fighting for independence in Catalonia, Spain. Guests: Financial Times journalist Mehul Srivastava, Security Advisor Ian Amit, and former WhatsApp engineers who witnessed the Pegasus breach, Otto Ebeling and Claudiu Dan Gheorghe Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.
Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its third episode of the series digging into the origin story behind the company that makes Pegasus spyware, the NSO Group. Israeli tech entrepreneurs Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie initially developed remote access to smartphones, which evolved into Pegasus. In a twist of fate, over the course of a decade, they have managed to beat out or outlast major competition in the spyware industry, including the Italian company Hacking Team. Guests: Keshet cybersecurity reporter Amitai Ziv; ReaQta CEO & former Hacking Team employee Alberto Pellicione; Security Advisor Ian Iftach Amit Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.
In 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey and was never seen again. Weeks later, the Turkish intelligence released secret tapes of Khashoggi’s last moments before being brutally murdered, causing an international uproar. It has been four years since Khashoggi’s murder, and what we now know is that the first weapon used against Khashoggi was digital and it’s called Pegasus - a kind of software that can be used to hijack your phone; a military-grade, spyware software. Guests: Widow of Jamal Khahsoggi, Hanan Elatr; Washington Post Dana Priest; New York Times’ Carlotta Gall Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.