The inter-ministerial team is headed by the Israel National Security Council, which responds to PM Naftali Bennett and has broader areas of expertise than the Ministry of Defense, which oversees NSO Groupsoftware.
“This event is beyond the scope of the Defense Ministry,” the source said, referring to a possible diplomatic setback.
Commenting on the development, a NSO The spokesperson said: “We welcome any decision made by the Israeli government, and we are convinced that the company’s activities are without flaws.”
Bennett’s office declined to comment. Addressing a cyber conference on Wednesday, the prime minister did not bring up the NSO issue.
A global investigation published Sunday by 17 media organizations, led by the Paris-based nonprofit journalism group. Forbidden stories, said Pegasus had been used in successful smartphone hacking attempts belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists.
NSO has rejected reports from media partners, saying it was “full of flawed assumptions and unsubstantiated theories.” Pegasus is designed to be used only by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to combat terrorism and crime, the NSO said.
Such purposes are also what guide Israel’s export policy, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a speech on Tuesday. But, referring to the complaints about Pegasus, he added: “We are currently studying the information published in this regard.”
At the conference, Bennett said Israel has memoranda of understanding with dozens of countries on cyber security, which it wants to turn into a “global cyber defense shield.”