UAE planted fake news in Qatar row, says US

“The information published in the Washington Post on 16 July 2017, which revealed the involvement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and senior Emirati officials in the hacking of Qatar News Agency, unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place”, Qatar’s government said in a statement on Monday.

A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said worldwide monitoring was needed in the standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, adding he saw signs that the pressure exerted on Doha “was working”.

Although the countries have been at loggerheads on and off for years, the trigger for the latest row was a news report on a speech by Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, which appeared on the state news agency’s website.

Still, four Arab states – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain – cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar and issued a list of 13 demands. Qatar strongly denies the allegations.

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.

USA officials have said that experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) helping Qatar investigate the incident are convinced QNA was hacked, but that identifying the culprit will take time.

It was unclear whether U.A.E. carried out the hacks itself or had contracted to have them done, the Post said.

Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE’s ambassador to the United States, rejected the hack accusation in a statement, saying it was “false”, the Washington Post said.

“What is true is Qatar’s behavior”. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors.

Washington and Doha signed the agreement as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Qatar on a three-day tour of Gulf-Arab countries to try to end a month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states.

Gargash said the UAE would not ask foreign companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar, but suggested worldwide monitoring of Qatar was needed.