U.S. intelligence confirms UAE planned Qatar fake news hack

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

The United Arab Emirates reportedly hacked and planted a fake news story to Qatari social media sites and government news outlets in May, causing a diplomatic crisis in the region, according to a report from the Washington Post quoting USA intelligence officials.

Qatar has maintained its emir never made the remarks and that the quotes were planted by hackers.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, also claimed the story was false.

The US intelligence officials told the Washington Post it was unclear whether the UAE authorities had hacked the Qatar News Agency itself or paid a third party to do it. He said that the story "will die" in the next few days.

The Washington Post reported that USA intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that senior UAE government officials discussed the planned hacking on May 23, the day before it occurred. The hacked emails allegedly reveal the UAE's efforts over the years to sway USA policymakers to its side of the dispute against Qatar.

The Saudi Arabian cabinet on Monday approved continuance of the measures that four Arab countries adopted against Qatar on June 5. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi.

UAE officials have already denounced the Washington Post report twice.

According to the Washington Post's report, officials became aware that newly analyzed intelligence, gathered by United States agencies, confirmed that on 23 May, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. Such statements are at odds with the prevailing sentiment in the Gulf.

"This criminal act represents a clear violation and breach of worldwide law and of the bilateral and collective agreements signed between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the United Nations".

The ambassador to UAE pronounced a news report asserting that UAE was responsible for hacking Qatari government sites "false".

The statement said that an investigation is ongoing and that government prosecutors plan to take "legal measures" locally and overseas.

Gargash's speech in London appeared to question Qatar's future in the GCC.

"So far, we have several setbacks of regional and global mediation". But it has denied aiding jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).

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