Profile: Chartwell Strategy Group

1- Name of NGO:

Chartwell Strategy Group

2- Brief & Mission:

Chartwell functions as a strategic consulting company that specializes in areas such as government connections, the management of political risks, and the implementation of strategic communications. They collaborate with globally significant corporations and entities to adeptly handle crucial matters involving public policies and reputational concerns.

Recent information has come to light indicating that Chartwell Strategy Group, a lobbying firm situated in Washington, D.C., provided services to NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-intelligence enterprise. This action led to NSO Group being included in the Commerce Department’s Entity List on November 4, 2021, due to its involvement in activities conflicting with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

It has been known to everyone that Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to target government officials, journalists, human rights defenders, and democracy activists throughout the world, including several American officials, journalists, and activists.

Chartwell has sought to promote the interests of NSO Group by contacting members of Congress, think tank experts, journalists, and opinion page editors with emails and op-ed submissions to communicate on NSO Group’s behalf, despite evidence that showed ongoing abuses by the company leading to its sanction by the Commerce Department. There is no evidence to suggest that Chartwell disclosed accurate and complete information about NSO Group’s record, including its sales of spyware to abusive governments known to misuse surveillance technology. 

,4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

Allegedly, Israel employed and maintained control over the Pegasus spyware developed by NSO Group, using it as a form of diplomatic leverage. This suggests a connection between Chartwell Group and the Israeli government, given Chartwell’s association with NSO Group.

5- Sources of Funding:

As per reports, Chartwell imposed an initial monthly fee of $50,000 for the initial three months, with the possibility of raising this fee to a higher amount of up to $75,000 per month afterward.

6- Activities:

According to an additional declaration submitted as part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) on April 1, 2022, Tamasi, the Managing Director of Chartwell, initiated a targeted two-week email initiative on behalf of NSO Group. This campaign was aimed at engaging journalists, editors responsible for opinion pages, and experts from think tanks. Remarkably, this endeavor began on the same date that Chartwell officially registered as a lobbyist for NSO Group.

Starting from January 28, 2022, Tamasi embarked on the task of reaching out to staff members associated with various members of Congress. These individuals included staff members from the offices of Representative Mike Turner (R-OH), who holds a significant position as the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL), a committee member as well. Additionally, Tamasi extended these communications to the offices of Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), who holds the role of ranking member in the Senate Subcommittee on Intelligence, and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. Furthermore, professional staff members of the House Intelligence Committee were also among those contacted by Tamasi during this period.

7- NGO Leadership:

Matthew Epperly holds the position of Managing Director, while Daniel Blumenthal serves as a Strategic Advisor within Chartwell.

8- Controversy:

NSO Group has faced extensive backlash due to its Pegasus spyware being implicated in human rights violations and cross-border oppression.

Revelations surrounding the widespread utilization of the Pegasus software for surveillance purposes, encompassing journalists, human rights advocates, politicians, and various individuals across multiple nations, raise significant concerns. Among the notable targets is Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, journalist, and co-founder of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). It is suspected that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware played a role in facilitating his tragic murder. In an orchestrated operation directed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi operatives lured Khashoggi to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and subsequently executed him on October 2, 2018.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:https://www.chartwellstrategy.com
  • Address:USA
  • Email:  info@chartwellstrategy.com

10- Classification/Blacklist:

Chartwells actions have violated their obligations pertaining to human rights as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This violation arises from their involvement in activities on behalf of NSO Group that have contributed to and profited from human rights violations. Consequently, this collaboration has placed Chartwell under scrutiny, as their association with NSO Group has prompted an examination of their conduct.

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