UAE denies Washington Post report it orchestrated Qatar hack

The UAE’s foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, denied the reports on Monday morning.

He also reiterated that the UAE and five other Arab nations had not written to Federation Internationale de Football Association to demand that Qatar be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

The UAE arranged for Qatari government social media and news sites to be hacked in late May in order to post fiery but false quotes linked to Qatar’s emir, prompting a diplomatic crisis, The Washington Postreported on Sunday, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

The attacks posted incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, over alliances with Iran, Hamas and Israel.

Qatari media was immediately banned in several Arab states, despite an official hack announcement issued by Doha within an hour of the initial attack.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing armed groups and allying with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Iran – allegations that Qatar denied. Also, it was not clear if the UAE contracted some agency for the hack or carried out the hack itself.

Officials came to know about the newly analyzed information gathered by US intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. Previously, US media, citing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, blamed the attack on “Russian hackers”. As per a Sunday report by The Washington Post UAE arranged the hacking of Qatari government news site.

The United Arab Emirates warned Qatar on Monday it could not belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council if it undermined regional security, calling for a “change of behaviour” but not “regime change”. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi [the former Libyan leader]. “Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors”, the statement said.

They were quickly seized on by news organisations outside Qatar, but Doha said they were false.

“You can not be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda”.

Speaking at a forum in London, Anwar Gargash also said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar. “We need a regional solution and worldwide monitoring”, he said.

“I understand the concern of our allies”, he added. “We need to be certain that Qatar, a state with 300 billion dollars in reserves, is no longer an official or unofficial sponsor of jihadist and terrorist causes”.