UAE says report that it was behind Qatari cyber hack is "false"

Vincent Carr
July 17, 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has denied that it was responsible for an alleged hacking of the Qatari state news agency and websites earlier this year.

The Post reported that USA 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. "We either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes its own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship".

Qatar has been ostracised by its neighbours since reports revealed its emir making comments praising Hamas and calling Iran an "Islamic power".

Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed sanctions on Doha on June 5, including closing its only land border, denying Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from the emirate.

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 USA intelligence services.

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Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states. The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

He said: "The Washington Post story is not true".

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash said Monday that the Washington Post report was false. It went on to call the act "a clear violation and breach of worldwide law and of the bilateral and collective agreements" between the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Doha had previously asked United States and British officials to investigate the source of the hack.

Regarding the possibility of Qatar being excluded from the GCC, Gargash said: "The GCC is in crisis and I don't think it serves our purposes to say let's take Qatar out". The move has left the Gulf kingdom effectively isolated in the region.

The hack, which took place the following day, preceded the current split in the Gulf between Qatar and a coalition of four countries that were mounting an economic and diplomatic boycott against it. "They [the UAE] claim that basically their demands from Qatar are legitimate and they insist that they should be fulfilled nearly as a diktat instead of sitting at a table and negotiating some legitimate differences that they might have with Doha, and somehow, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has followed suit", said Jahshan.

Other reports by BadHub

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