Cellebrite’s extensive federal sales come as another Israeli spy tech firm, NSO Group, falls under federal sanctions.

By Mara Hvistendahl, Sam Biddle, The Intercept

Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service frequently work to thwart a variety of environmental offenses, from illegal deforestation to hunting without a license. While these are real crimes, they’re not typically associated with invasive phone hacking tools. But Fish and Wildlife agents are among the increasingly broad set of government employees who can now break into encrypted phones and siphon off mounds of data with technology purchased from the surveillance company Cellebrite.

Israeli spy tech

Across the federal government, agencies that don’t use Cellebrite technology are increasingly the exception, not the rule. Federal purchasing records and Cellebrite securities documents reviewed by The Intercept show that all but one of the 15 U.S. Cabinet departments, along with several other federal agencies, have acquired Cellebrite products in recent years. The list includes many that would seem far removed from intelligence collection or law enforcement, like the departments of Agriculture, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development; the Social Security Administration; the U.S. Agency for International Development; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cellebrite itself boasted about its penetration of the executive branch ahead of becoming a publicly traded company in August. In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that it had over 2,800 government customers in North America. To secure that reach, The Intercept has found, the company has partnered with U.S. law enforcement associations and hired police officers, prosecutors, and Secret Service agents to train people in its technology. Cellebrite has also marketed its technology to law firms and multinational corporations for investigating employees. In the SEC filing, it claimed that its clients included six out of the world’s 10 largest pharmaceutical companies and six of the 10 largest oil refiners.

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