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King Abdullah II. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Israeli cyber intelligence firm NSO negotiated with the Jordanian government in recent months on a deal to sell new spying technology, two sources briefed on the matter tell me.

Why it matters: The Jordanian intelligence services surveil terrorist groups, but they also monitor opposition activists and crack down on domestic criticism of King Abdullah II.

Driving the news: The sources say the negotiations between NSO and the Jordanian government started late last year, and a delegation of the company’s senior executives and technology experts traveled to Amman.

  • They gave a presentation to Jordanian officials, including from the General Intelligence Directorate, and demonstrated the capabilities of the new technology.
  • According to one source, the technology related to new spyware for collecting intelligence and other technology to monitor messaging services.
  • One source said a contract was signed, but a second said it was unclear if the deal was finalized.
  • An NSO spokesperson told me: "As a long-standing matter of policy, we do not comment on our contacts with states. The above is not being deemed as a confirmation of the alleged facts.”

The big picture: The negotiations took place in the months leading up to the latest domestic crisis in the kingdom, during which former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was put under house arrest over an alleged coup attempt.

  • Jordanian security services monitored his communications for months and allegedly spied on his meetings with tribal leaders.

Flashback: According to press reports, NSO has done business with the Jordanian government in the past. Haaretz reported last year that NSO uses the code name “Jaguar” for Jordan in internal documents.

Worth noting: NSO came under harsh criticism in recent years over the use of its Pegasus spyware by several clients around the world to surveil human rights activists, opposition figures, reporters and political rivals.

  • In October 2019, Facebook sued NSO over the alleged use of Pegasus to hack 1,400 WhatsApp accounts, including those of 100 human rights activists and journalists. NSO rejects the allegations.
  • The Guardian reported last month that the Department of Justice had renewed a probe involving NSO.

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Why it matters: Stocks have rallied almost unabated for over a year, leaving many to wonder if the market is overdue for a big selloff. Last week's declines amplify those concerns.

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Graphic: Axios Visuals

Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Trump advisers see the coming book glut as proof that interest in "POTUS 45," as they call him, has never been higher. These advisers know that most of the books will paint a mixed picture, at best. But Trump is working the refs with charm, spin and dish.

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The swoon in college enrollment

Expand chart
Data: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The pandemic's effects, along with a decline in the number of young adults, have depressed college enrollment, with community colleges bearing much of the brunt.

Why it matters: A college degree is becoming more important as the demand for higher skills sharpens. The drop in college enrollment — which is especially steep for Black and Latino students — is bad news for both the higher education industry and broader social mobility.