Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

UAE behind hacking of Qatari media

Ellis Copeland | 17 July, 2017, 22:41

Earlier in the day, the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, said the story is false. He said that the story "will die" in the next few days.

However, US intelligence agencies claim the quotes were posted falsely and deliberately in a state-sponsored hack ordered by the UAE to whip up anger against its smaller Gulf neighbour.

"The @washingtonpost story is false".

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

On June 5, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha in retaliation for what they described as Qatar's support for terrorism and extremism, its hostile policy and intervention in the affairs of Arab states.

Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

"And now the results are out in public and they confirm that hacking has taken place and the quotes that precipitated this crisis by the emir of Qatar were fabricated and resulting from this hacking".

The statement cited the government's communications director, Sheikh Saif bin Ahmad al-Thani, as saying it was "especially unfortunate that this shameful act of cyber terrorism is being attributed to a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council". It added that the "crime" against its state news agency by a Gulf nation was a violation of worldwide law.

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It was not clear whether the UAE hacked the Qatari sites itself or paid another entity to do so, The Post added.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was previously known to be working with Qatar to probe the hacking.

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

The Washington Post reports that new intelligence reveals the UAE government met to discuss the hacking plot and its execution on 23 May.

"This is our message: You can not be part of a regional organization dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security", he said. "You can not be both our friend and the friend of Al Qaeda".

Gargash also repeated accusations that Qatar was trying to create instability in the region and even accused it of conspiring with jihadists against Saudi Arabia.

Initially the U.S. seemed to have taken sides with them against Qatar in the dispute, President Trump accusing the Qataris of funding terrorism "at the highest level". Qatar's critics are widely thought to have overreached in their demands, in particular in their insistence the Al Jazeera news network be shut down.

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