Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder & Pegasus Spyware

Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder & Pegasus Spyware

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.


January 13, 2023 3 mins

Shoot the Messenger is a new serialized, investigative-reporting podcast where we do deep dives on the international news stories that warrant a reexamination. We start our first season asking what really happened to the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi? We now know the first weapon used against him was digital - a sophisticated spyware called Pegasus. Several people in Jamal Khashoggi's inner circle hav...

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More than four years after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Khashoggi’s phones are still with Turkish authorities. We learned how Khashoggi’s wife, Hanan Elatr discovered she had been targeted, tracked and spied on by Pegasus, the military-grade spyware on her phone. She was not the only one. His colleague, Omar Abdulaziz, and fellow activist, Ahmed Monsoor, were also targ...

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January 24, 2023 44 mins

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 s...

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February 7, 2023 41 mins

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 majo...

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February 21, 2023 38 mins

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 wa...

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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 ...

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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, p...

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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 se...

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April 18, 2023 48 mins

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 ...

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May 2, 2023 37 mins

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 countr...

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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 offi...

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May 30, 2023 19 mins

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 ac...

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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 h...

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June 27, 2023 30 mins

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?

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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

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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. ...

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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...

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In this bonus episode of Shoot the Messenger, we share a special interview host Rose Reid did with Russian journalist and founder of the media outlet Meduza, Galina Timchenko.

Citizen Lab and Access Now confirmed Galina Timchenko had been infected with Pegasus — which is the first documented case of the use of Pegasus against a Russian journalist.

Before Galina Timchenko was the editor in chief of Meduza, she ran one of ...

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December 19, 2023 41 mins

Hey Shoot the Messenger Listeners - we are hard at work on Season 2, “Who Killed the Haitian President?” It will launch in late February. Until then, we’re bringing you special bonus episodes. 

This episode we’re sharing the first episode of a new series from our friends at Brazen and PRX called ‘The Professor.’ 

“The Professor” is an investigative podcast about a stolen masterpiece, the Italian mafia, and one man's sear...

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