WASHINGTON — Jul 17, 2017, 1:16 AM ET

Report: UAE behind hacking of Qatari media

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The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of a Qatari government news site in May, planting a false story that was used as a pretext for the current crisis between Qatar and several Arab countries, according to a Sunday report by The Washington Post.

The Emirati Embassy in Washington released a statement in response calling the Post report "false" and insisting that the UAE "had no role whatsoever" in the alleged hacking.

The report quotes unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as saying that senior members of the Emirati government discussed the plan on May 23. On the following day, a story appeared on the Qatari News Agency's website quoting a speech by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he allegedly praised Iran and said Qatar has a good relationship with Israel. Similarly incendiary statements appeared on the news agency's Twitter feed.

The agency quickly claimed it was hacked and removed the article. But Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all blocked Qatari media and later severed diplomatic ties.

The ongoing crisis has threatened to complicate the U.S.-led coalition's fight against the Islamic State group as all participants are U.S. allies and members of the anti-IS coalition. Qatar is home to more than 10,000 U.S. troops and the regional headquarters of the U.S. Central Command while Bahrain is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

President Donald Trump has sided strongly with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the dispute, publicly backing their contention that Doha is a supporter of Islamic militant groups and a destabilizing force in the Middle East. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently concluded several days of shuttle diplomacy in the Gulf, but he departed the region without any public signs of a resolution.

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  • heartthrob

    Well the above piece of article is referencing the WP as the source of it. WP used an Egyptian reporter in Turkey (most of muslim brotherhood anti UAE members are located in Turkey as they're being chased off by Egyptian gov). Turkey is in good terms with Qatar and Russia. SO the source of this report is not trust worthy. Qatar may be an ally in terms of offering the Odaid base, it has no free media. Its media is used to target all countries but Qatar. It is also proven that many extremist groups,which led to the death os US affiliated individuals (soldiers, ambassador....ect) were funded by Qatar as a part of their double agent strategy. The base can be moved to any other Gulf state and US will be in a better position to bargin.

  • georgex9

    Just today read that charges are brought against young woman who posted video in short dress

  • georgex9

    The question is why are we favoring Saudi Arabia over Qatar? Saudi Arabia has been exporting radical Islam for decades and they have strict laws against the slightest blasphemy (which is anti-free expression).

  • bobhope1

    Astonishing. Saudi is clearly the ideological and propagation center of gravity of ISIS, Al Nusrah, AQ and on and on of the Sunni beheading, whipping etc etc groups. A widely known and acknowledged reality apparently - yet Trump cannot see the obvious?

  • grumpyoldfuddyduddy

    Wow... Two major wars going on in Syria and Yemen...and STILL ABC has the temerity to mention Mideast countries in news stories. All the other corporate media sources have also quit talking about the wars. I wish I knew more about the relationship between the corporate media and the military. Are media outlets just told not to talk bout the wars? Does the media take it upon itself to not run news about the wars? Is there some sort of voluntary thing where ABC does not report on the wars as a courtesy to the military?

    Last I heard, we were sending more troops...and more explosives... and we were going to try to cooperate with Russia...it's only been a couple of weeks....Maybe I'm just being nosy, and it's none of my business how the wars are going....still, back in the day, orgnizations like ABC were a source of news.... I guess it's hard to remember this is a new age...I can't be expecting "news"

  • Maxvell

    This week he takes on Nafta...and those nasty Canadians.

  • eeriesponsiple

    Once again Trumps rush to judgement gets it wrong.

  • reality25

    Hey, weren't Trump and Kushner supposedly bringing peace to the ME? Chaos has now invaded the hornets nest. Stay tuned.

  • JLS1950

    Leave it to Trump to back the wrong horse and offend another critical American ally. Qatar is the only Gulf State that allows a reasonably free media to exist on its soil - hence its perceived threat to the other Islamic states in the region.