Posted on

Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

U.S. players celebrate a goal scored by teammate Lynn Williams during a women’s quarterfinal soccer match against The Netherlands on Friday at the Summer Olympics in Yokohama, Japan.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Silvia Izquierdo/AP


U.S. players celebrate a goal scored by teammate Lynn Williams during a women’s quarterfinal soccer match against The Netherlands on Friday at the Summer Olympics in Yokohama, Japan.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

TOKYO — The U.S. women’s soccer team is up 2-1 at halftime in its must-win match against The Netherlands at the Tokyo Olympics.

If they lose today, they’ll go home. If they win, they’ll advance to the semifinal.

Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema made a goal 18 minutes into the first half, but the U.S. team quickly answered.

Ten minutes later, U.S. midfielder Samantha Mewis scored with a diving header, teed up by teammate Lynn Williams. Williams scored her own goal three minutes later.

The team’s play so far at the Games has been uneven. In group play, they lost their first game against Sweden, beat New Zealand, and played Australia to a scoreless.

The U.S. is trying to become the first reigning Women’s World Cup champion to ever take Olympic gold.

Posted on

Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic looks upset after he was defeated by Germany’s Alexander Zverev during a semifinal match of the tennis competition on Friday at the Summer Olympics.

Seth Wenig/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Seth Wenig/AP


Serbia’s Novak Djokovic looks upset after he was defeated by Germany’s Alexander Zverev during a semifinal match of the tennis competition on Friday at the Summer Olympics.

Seth Wenig/AP

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic was upset in the men’s tennis semifinal by Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

The loss means that Djokovic won’t be able to complete a “golden slam” — winning all four major tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in a single year. Djokovic had won three majors already going into the Olympics.

Zverev, who is ranked fifth, cried after beating the top-ranked player in the world 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Djokovic will play for the bronze medal instead.

Posted on

Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

U.S. BMX racer Connor Fields leads the pack in the men’s BMX Racing quarterfinals at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Ben Curtis/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Ben Curtis/AP


U.S. BMX racer Connor Fields leads the pack in the men’s BMX Racing quarterfinals at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Ben Curtis/AP

Connor Fields, the U.S. defending gold medalist in BMX racing, had a brutal crash in the semifinals of his event and left the venue on a stretcher in an ambulance.

“We can confirm that Connor Fields is awake, stable, and awaiting further medical evaluation. He will remain in the hospital under observation,” said Dr. Jon Finnoff, the chief medical officer for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The 28-year-old was in the third heat of the semifinal, where groups race over a bumpy course with jumps. He started with two excellent rides. Then, disaster struck.

Fields was in a tight pack of riders and came down wrong from a jump, crashing headfirst onto the ground. Paramedics strapped him to a stretcher as he appeared to be unconscious and carried him off the course.

Felicia Stancil, Fields’ training partner who came in fourth in the women’s race, saw him crash as she was also in the middle of competition.

“I’m thinking about him a lot right now. I’m still a bit emotional,” Stancil said in a statement. “He’s an Olympic champion forever. To be around him, and his support, all the time is amazing. His crash definitely affected me. I actually won the next lap after I cried. I was crying going up the start hill and then won the run. He’s just an inspiration.”

Even though he was unable to compete in the final, the scores he already racked up in the semi were enough to qualify. He ultimately placed eight in the event.

Posted on

The Philippines Says It Will Keep Its Long-Standing Security Pact With The U.S. : NPR

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shake hands after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military camp in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Friday, July 30. Austin is visiting Manila to hold talks with Philippine officials to boost defense ties and possibly discuss the The Visiting Forces Agreement between the US and Philippines.

Rolex dela Pena/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Rolex dela Pena/AP


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shake hands after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military camp in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Friday, July 30. Austin is visiting Manila to hold talks with Philippine officials to boost defense ties and possibly discuss the The Visiting Forces Agreement between the US and Philippines.

Rolex dela Pena/AP

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has retracted a decision to end a key defense pact with the United States, allowing large-scale combat exercises between U.S. and Philippine forces that at times have alarmed China to proceed.

Duterte’s decision was announced Friday by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a joint news conference with visiting U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin in Manila. It was a step back from the Philippine leader’s stunning vow early in his term to distance himself from Washington as he tried to rebuild frayed ties with China over territorial rifts in the South China Sea.

“The president decided to recall or retract the termination letter for the VFA,” Lorenzana told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Austin, referring to the Visiting Forces Agreement. “There is no termination letter pending and we are back on track.”

Austin thanked Duterte for the decision, which he said would further bolster the two nations’ 70-year treaty alliance.

“Our countries face a range of challenges, from the climate crises to the pandemic and, as we do, a strong, resilient US-Philippine alliance will remain vital to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific,” Austin said. “A fully restored VFA will help us achieve that goal together.”

Terminating the pact would have been a major blow to America’s oldest alliance in Asia, as Washington squares with Beijing on a range of issues, including trade, human rights and China’s behavior in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety.

The U.S. military presence in the region is seen as a counterbalance to China, which has used force to assert claims to vast areas of the disputed South China Sea, including the construction of artificial islands equipped with airstrips and military installations. China has ignored a 2016 international arbitration ruling that invalidated its historic basis.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and three other governments have been locked in the territorial standoff for decades. The U.S. doesn’t take sides and insists on freedom of navigation in international waters, and doesn’t recognize China’s claims.

In a speech in Singapore on Tuesday, Austin said that Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea “has no basis in international law” and “treads on the sovereignty of states in the region.” He said the U.S. supports the region’s coastal states in upholding their rights under international law, and is committed to its defense treaty obligations with Japan and the Philippines.

Duterte notified the U.S. government in February 2020 year that the Philippines intended to abrogate the 1998 agreement, which allows large numbers of American forces to join combat training with Philippine troops and sets legal terms for their temporary stay.

U.S. and Philippine forces engage in about 300 activities each year, including the Balikatan, or shoulder-to-shoulder, exercises, which involve thousands of troops in land, sea and air drills that often included live-fire exercises. They’ve often sparked China’s concerns when they were held on the periphery of the sea Beijing claims as its own.

The pact’s termination would have taken effect after 180 days, but Duterte has repeatedly delayed the decision. While it was pending, the U.S. and Philippine militaries proceeded with plans for combat and disaster-response exercises but canceled larger drills last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Balikatan exercises resumed last April but were considerably scaled down due to continuing COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns.

Posted on

Mexico To Release Potentially Thousands Of Prisoners From Federal Custody : NPR

Mexico’s president has ordered the release of potentially thousands of prisoners from federal custody. Among the reasons for the early release is that some prisoners were tortured.



ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Mexico plans to release thousands of federal prisoners who have never been charged of a crime or who were victims of torture. Human rights groups have long criticized Mexico’s judicial system for its use of torture. NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said today he’s prepared to open the doors of the country’s prisons and right a long-perpetrated wrong in Mexico.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: “We do not want torture in Mexico.”

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ OBRADOR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: “No one deserves to be tortured – no one,” declared Lopez Obrador. He said he wants federal prisoners who’ve been tortured to be released by September 15. He also said he will free nonviolent elderly and sick prisoners, as well as those who have been locked up for more than 10 years without being sentenced. Human rights groups have long criticized Mexico’s judicial system. A 2019 study of tens of thousands of prisoners showed nearly 80% had been ill treated or tortured by officials. Maureen Meyer is with WOLA, the Washington Office on Latin America, a social justice advocacy group.

MAUREEN MEYER: Torture has been used in all too many cases to investigate crimes and to force confessions on suspects who, many times, didn’t commit the crime they’re being accused of.

KAHN: While she applauds the president’s pledge to free torture victims, she says the practice will continue unless the perpetrators are prosecuted.

MEYER: It is used so much because no one is ever investigated or very few times have been investigated for actually committing the torture.

KAHN: WOLA looked at more than 10,000 cases of federal torture from 2006 to 2018 – in only 50 cases was the torturer convicted. The release of prisoners who confessed to crimes through torture could impact some very high-profile cases in Mexico, including the 2014 disappearance of 43 teaching students. Many of those charged in the case have said they were tortured. Lopez Obrador says he will sign the prisoner release decree next week.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF KEVIN SHIELDS’ “IKEBANA”)

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Posted on

Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will extend a state of emergency to four more prefectures due to rising coronavirus infections. Here, Suga addresses a news conference on July 8.

Nicolas Datiche/Pool via AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Nicolas Datiche/Pool via AP


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will extend a state of emergency to four more prefectures due to rising coronavirus infections. Here, Suga addresses a news conference on July 8.

Nicolas Datiche/Pool via AP

Even as new coronavirus cases surge in Tokyo to rates not seen since the pandemic began, Japan’s prime minister says the Olympics are not causing the spike.

Officials on Thursday confirmed 3,865 new cases in Japan’s capital, the highest daily tally reported, just as the Tokyo Olympics near their halfway point.

It’s the third day in a row the city has set a record for new cases, which started spiking shortly after people associated with the Olympics began arriving in Japan. Before Olympic personnel began entering Tokyo, the capital’s daily cases were fewer than 700.

But on the same day Japan’s total daily cases topped 10,000 for the first time, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said there’s no link between the Games and rising coronavirus infections.

“Since we have imposed virus-curbing measures, such as cutting the flow of people (in public) and stricter border controls to prevent the spread of the virus by foreign visitors, I think there is none,” he said.

Suga again urged people to watch the Olympics from home rather than in groups in public to reduce the risk of infection. The Games are not allowing in-person spectators.

Suga’s statement comes as Japan extends its coronavirus state of emergency to four more prefectures beyond the capital: Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Osaka. Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, which neighbor Tokyo, had requested stricter measures be imposed as infections rapidly rise in their regions.

Within the Olympic bubble, the Games have also reported one of their highest daily increases in cases since July 1. Twenty-four people with connections to the Games have tested positive for the coronavirus since Wednesday, including three athletes. So far, 193 people connected to the Olympics, including 20 athletes, have tested positive.

Toho University professor Kazuhiro Tateda, a member of the Japanese government’s coronavirus panel, told NHK World-Japan that the state of emergency in Tokyo is not working. The state of emergency has been in place since July 12.

“It’s so far had little or no impact,” he said. “The rapid surge in cases can be attributed to an increased movement of people due to a four-day holiday weekend, the Olympics and Paralympics, and summer vacations. We must keep in mind that the number will increase. It is time to introduce tighter restrictions.”

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

Posted on

Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

Zhang Yufei of China swims toward an Olympic record and gold medal in the women’s 200-meter butterfly final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Charlie Riedel/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Charlie Riedel/AP


Zhang Yufei of China swims toward an Olympic record and gold medal in the women’s 200-meter butterfly final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Let’s face it: Nobody likes spoilers.

Whether it’s with sports, reality TV, Jeopardy or that series you’ve been watching since season one, something so simple as a tweet or a Facebook post from a family member can ruin it for you in less than 30 seconds.

We’ve been trying our best to avoid spoilers about (spoiler alert:) the Olympics. But, despite the numerous attempts to duck and dodge, there are many ways to learn the results — even before you see them on TV.

With Tokyo being 13 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast, it’s a bit difficult to catch the games live unless you’re staying up and pulling an all-nighter.

“It’s so hard. It’s almost impossible to avoid spoilers — especially with the Olympics,” says Tang Tang, a media professor at Kent State University. “There’s social media and all types of media platforms reporting on it, including international media, so it’s almost impossible to stay away.”

So, how can you avoid spoilers during the Olympic Games? Simple. Here are a few tips and tricks.

Limit your timeline on Twitter

… or at least, try to. While this may be easy for some, it may be a challenge for others.

Twitter is a huge source for spoilers, and not just for sporting events. However, the social media platform has some cool features on how you can avoid the risk of spoilers.

Using the platform’s muting feature allows you to mute or hide certain phrases or hashtags from your timeline. Try using the following phrases as a head start to avoid the risk:

  • Gold
  • Olympics
  • Tokyo
  • Tokyo Olympics

To access the feature, it’s simple: Go to more > Settings and Privacy > Privacy and Safety tab > then click Mute and Block.

Limit those Facebook accounts, too

Yes, you also have to finesse your settings on here, as well.

Good news: In terms of Facebook, you can target those specific accounts that may be the source of spoiling the games for you.

To limit on Facebook, click on the three dots on a post and you’ll come across the option to snooze that account for 30 days. (Side note: You can also use this feature for any official pages you follow or even for someone you’re friends with that you know is always posting about the Olympics.)

Modifying your push notifications

OK, so with this trick it may be a tad bit difficult.

Depending on the news organization, some apps have specific categories in which you can get certain alerts to your phone.

The best trick would be to open up the specific app that’s driving you crazy with spoilers and check to see if there’s a sports or breaking news tab that you can easily turn off temporarily until the games are over.

But be sure to turn them back on later so you won’t miss any important breaking or sports news.

Posted on

What To Look For As Track And Field Begins : Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

JuVaughn Harrison competes in the men’s long jump final at the Olympic trials in June. He’ll compete in both the long jump and high jump in the Olympics.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Andy Lyons/Getty Images


JuVaughn Harrison competes in the men’s long jump final at the Olympic trials in June. He’ll compete in both the long jump and high jump in the Olympics.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For some of us, the Olympics don’t really get started until the runners take the starting line and the javelins go flying. Every four years — or in this case, five — we rejoice when the hours of swimming coverage give way to wall-to-wall athletics, as the Olympics and other countries call track and field.

Here are a few storylines to watch for, as the tracksters lace up their spikes and events kick off in Japan.

JuVaughn Harrison is a double-threat jumper

JuVaughn Harrison won both the high jump and the long jump at the U.S. Olympic trials last month. That means the 22-year-old will compete in both events in Tokyo, making him the first man to represent the U.S. in both events at the Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912.

“Doubling in high and long jump is rare,” said Marquis Dendy, who placed second to Harrison in the long jump trials. “It’s amazing. He’s a great talent. It’s all kinds of crazy.”

U.S. sprinters aim to take Bolt’s mantle

For the first time since Athens 2004, there will be no Usain Bolt scorching the Olympic track.

That means a bevy of sprinters will be vying to be the new fastest man in the world – and many of them are on Team USA.

The U.S. has the potential to take the number one and two spots in the men’s 100 meters, as Trayvon Bromell and Ronnie Baker have each notched blazingly fast times this year.

In the 200 meters, watch for Noah Lyles. After narrowly missing a spot on the 2016 team, Lyles won the event at the Olympic trials last month — in the fastest time this year.

And after a year in which he says he stopped having fun on the track, that success brought the thrill back. “My first feeling is, ‘Shoot, that was hard, but gosh, that was fun,” Lyles said afterward.

Trying to catch him will be U.S. teammates Kenny Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton – all three in their first Olympic Games. Knighton is the U.S. squad’s youngest track and field athlete: He’s just 17, and still in high school in Tampa, Fla.

Michael Norman and Michael Cherry celebrate after finishing first and second in the 400-meter final at the U.S. Olympic trials last month. Both will compete in the 400-meter event in Tokyo.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images


Michael Norman and Michael Cherry celebrate after finishing first and second in the 400-meter final at the U.S. Olympic trials last month. Both will compete in the 400-meter event in Tokyo.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Michael Norman is a medal favorite in the 400 meters. He missed out on making the team in Rio, but he’s only gotten faster. And he’s got a connection to the host country: His mother, Nabue Saito, was born in Japan. Norman has been working on learning Japanese in the runup to the Games.

The Games welcome a new event: the 4×400 mixed relay

Making its Olympic debut is a “mixed” 4×400 meter event in which each relay team consists of two women and two men.

A big part of the strategy in any relay is in the order of each team’s runners. It’s especially true in this event, given that the male 400-meter runners at the Olympics are about 6 seconds faster than the female runners at the same distance — and it’s up to each team to decide which lineup of team members will be most competitive.

So, for instance, a team could decide to have its men run the first two legs, and the women running the final two legs, or have the men go first and last, with the women running the middle two legs.

The U.S. won the event — and set the world record — at the 2019 World Championships, with the team of Wilbert London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry, running in that order.

It’s not yet decided who will be on the U.S. team for relays at the Olympics — there is a pool from which members will be selected. All of the 2019 World Championship winners are at the Olympics, except Okolo.

Aliphine Tuliamuk poses after winning the women’s U.S. Olympic marathon team trials in February 2020 in Atlanta.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


Aliphine Tuliamuk poses after winning the women’s U.S. Olympic marathon team trials in February 2020 in Atlanta.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This marathoner became a mother — after qualifying for the Olympics

And if you’re looking for just how much can change in a year, look no further than Aliphine Tuliamuk. She took the top spot at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials back in February 2020.

Then the pandemic changed everything, and the 2020 Olympics was pushed until the following summer. Tuliamuk and her partner decided to use the time a bit differently: to start a family.

Tuliamuk gave birth to a daughter in January – leaving her less than seven months to prepare for the Olympics.

Allyson Felix is back on the track

Allyson Felix is perhaps the best-known of the U.S. runners competing in Tokyo. An Olympian since the 2004 Athens Games, Felix has already captured six Olympic golds and three silvers.

If she medals in Tokyo, she would match – or even surpass – Carl Lewis’ record 10 medals for a U.S. track and field athlete.

She’ll be on the track for the 400 meters — and she may also be selected for one or more relays.

Allyson Felix sprints in a 400 meter qualifying heat during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at last month in Eugene, Ore.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Patrick Smith/Getty Images


Allyson Felix sprints in a 400 meter qualifying heat during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at last month in Eugene, Ore.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

She’s now 35, and gave birth to her daughter Camryn in 2018, a difficult experience that led her to criticize the maternity policies of Nike, her then-sponsor. Nike soon changed its maternity policy for its sponsored athletes.

Felix and her current sponsor, Athleta, recently announced a $200,000 fund to help cover childcare costs for female athletes with children.

Coronavirus testing is the first hurdle

Before any athlete can prove they’re the fastest, highest or strongest, they must pass a different kind of test: One that shows they don’t have the coronavirus.

The virus is already shaping the field of competitors in Tokyo.

American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who won the last two world championships, was just knocked from the competition by a positive coronavirus test.

So instead of hurling himself into the air over an impossibly high bar in the coming days, he’s isolating in a Tokyo hotel room. His father and coach said on Instagram that Kendricks “isn’t sick.”

And Kendricks’ positive test has an impact on other athletes, too.

Three Australian athletes had brief contact with Kendricks, which meant the country’s entire team was put into isolation for a couple hours while they were tested for the virus. The three athletes who interacted with Kendricks remain in isolation, per official protocols, though they all tested negative.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce pursues 100-meter gold

The fastest U.S. female sprinter won’t be in the starting blocks in Tokyo.

Sha’Carri Richardson won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials, but was suspended after testing positive for THC, the intoxicant found in marijuana. She said she had used the drug due to “emotional panic” after learning of her biological mother’s death a few days before the trials.

But Richardson wasn’t the sprinter with the fastest time this year — that would be Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

In June, Fraser-Pryce notched a time in the 100 meters faster than any woman in history except American track star Florence Griffith Joyner. She was surprised by her own speed: “I never expected I would run 10.6 and think it’s a good thing because there was no pressure,” she said.

To win in Tokyo, Fraser-Pryce will need to fend off stiff competition from Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith and her fellow Jamaicans Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson Herah, the defending 100 meter Olympic champion.

Posted on

NSO Employee Says Some Contracts Suspended : NPR

Israel’s NSO Group has denied media reports its Pegasus software is linked to the mass surveillance of journalists and rights defenders, and suspended service to some governments following the reports.

Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images


Israel’s NSO Group has denied media reports its Pegasus software is linked to the mass surveillance of journalists and rights defenders, and suspended service to some governments following the reports.

Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli spyware company NSO Group has temporarily blocked several government clients around the world from using its technology as the company investigates their possible misuse, a company employee told NPR on Thursday.

The suspensions are in response to an investigation by the Pegasus Project, a consortium of media outlets that reported the company’s Pegasus spyware was linked to hacks and potential surveillance of telephones of people including journalists, human rights activists and heads of state.

The company has been under scrutiny in the wake of the reports. The Israeli government has also faced pressure since it regulates the sale of spyware technology to other countries. Now the company says it has suspended some clients’ access to its technology.

“There is an investigation into some clients. Some of those clients have been temporarily suspended,” said the source in the company, who spoke to NPR on condition of anonymity because company policy states that NSO “will no longer be responding to media inquiries on this matter and it will not play along with the vicious and slanderous campaign.”

Israeli officials visited NSO’s office in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Wednesday, “in order to assess the allegations raised in regards to the company,” the defense ministry said in a statement. The NSO employee said the company was cooperating fully with the probe and sought to prove to Israeli officials that the people named in the media reports were not Pegasus targets.

The company employee would not name or quantify the government agencies — or their countries — that NSO has recently suspended from using its spyware, asserting that Israeli defense regulations prohibit the company from identifying its clients.

NSO says it has 60 customers in 40 countries, all of them intelligence agencies, law enforcement bodies and militaries. It says in recent years, before the media reports, it blocked its software from five governmental agencies, including two in the past year, after finding evidence of misuse. The Washington Post reported the clients suspended include Saudi Arabia, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and some public agencies in Mexico.

The company says it only sells its spyware to countries for the purpose of fighting terrorism and crime, but the recent reports claim NSO dealt with countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and that dozens of smartphones were found to be infected with its spyware.

NSO’s latest internal investigation checked some of the telephone numbers of people that NSO’s clients reportedly marked as potential targets. “Almost everything we checked, we found no connection to Pegasus,” the employee said, declining to elaborate on potential misuse NSO may have uncovered.

The media consortium reported French President Emmanuel Macron’s phone was listed as a potential target for surveillance by Morocco and the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was infected with NSO’s Pegasus spyware. The NSO employee said the company’s investigation found neither was infected with Pegasus.

Nearly three weeks before Pegasus Project stories were published, NSO released its first report outlining its policies on combating misuse of its technology and protecting human rights. It cites a new procedure adopted last year to investigate allegations of potential software misuse.

Shmuel Sunray, who serves as general counsel to NSO Group, said the intense scrutiny facing the company was unfair considering its own vetting efforts.

“What we are doing is, what I think today is, the best standard that can be done,” Sunray told NPR. “We’re on the one hand, I think, the world leaders in our human rights compliance, and the other hand we’re the poster child of human rights abuse.”