UAE Denies Involvement in QNA Hacking

Pauline Gross
July 17, 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was behind a series of hacks that sparked regional discord and isolated Qatar from its neighbors, according to a media report Sunday, quoted by Anadolu Agency.

The Post reported that United States intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that senior UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article", Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba's statement said.

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

The crisis erupted May 24, when Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, was cited on government and news websites as praising Iran and the radical Palestinian group Hamas. In response, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

Earlier on Monday, the UAE's foreign minister Anwar Gargash told an audience at London think tank Chatham House there was no truth to the allegations made by both Qatar and The Washington Post, which cited information newly analysed by U.S. intelligence services.

The false remarks by Emir Al Thani were quickly picked up and circulated by other Gulf news outlets, even after Qatar issued a statement clarifying the story was fabricated.

"You will see in the next few days that the Washington Post story is going to die", he said at Chatham House in London.

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Qatar's government communications office seized on the report, saying it "revealed the involvement" of the UAE and senior Emirati officials.

Qatar had repeatedly said that the website of the Qatar News Agency's was hacked but failed to provide the results of its own investigation so far.

USA investigators have been working in Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hack, according to Qatari and United States government officials.

US President Donald Trump visited the region the next day, meeting with Gulf leaders in Riyadh, and the operation was put into action later the same day.

"Tillerson's spokesperson has said that [Qatar-Gulf crisis negotiations] may be a long process to find any sort of common ground in resolving this conflict", said Zhou-Castro.

While previous reports have cited U.S. officials claiming that Russian hackers were involved in the QNA incident, they were not explicitly tied to any of the four countries isolating Qatar.

They say Qatar has supported many radical groups.

Other reports by GizPress

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