Not 'Russian hackers'? WaPo report accuses UAE of orchestrating Qatar media hack


The development emerged hours after The Washington Post, citing unidentified us intelligence officials, reported that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government websites in May to post pro-Iran comments that ultimately led to the feud.

United States intelligence services have received new data last week and majority suggest that a day before the attack took place a group of Abu Dhabi government officials was discussing the cyber-attacks from May 23.

On May 24, two day after U.S. president Donald Trump's visit to Riyadh for a summit with leaders from the GCC and dozens of other Muslim-majority countries, Qatar News Agency carried on its website and a ticker on an online video incendiary quotes attributed to Sheikh Tamim, the emir of Qatar, including a denunciation of the summit and praise for Iran and Hamas.

At the same time, the Post report says it is still unclear if it was UAE hackers who carried out the attack or if it was "contracted" to foreigners.

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article", the statement said according to the Washington Post.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash said Monday that the Washington Post report was false.

It comes after United States spies accused the UAE of hacking Qatari government websites to plant fake news to provoke one of the worst diplomatic rifts in recent Middle East history.

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"What is true is Qatar's behaviour", he added.

Gargash said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar. Staunchly defending its innocence against the allegations from the onset of the crisis, Qatar claimed the demands were deliberately created to be impossible for it to meet and rejected them, causing the current stalemate in negotiations. "But we can not have a member who is undermining us and supporting extremism", he said.

Read the whole story from The Washington Post. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement further read.

Its officials categorically denied having any involvement in the hack on Sunday. On June 22, four Arab states advanced 13 demands to Qatar for restoring relations and gave it a 10-day deadline to comply with them.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have not said what steps they could take next, but there are fears of a wider embargo that would hurt the Qatari economy, with credit ratings agency Moody's announcing it was changing Qatar's outlook to negative over the crisis.

However, the four Arab powers have said the memorandum fell short of allaying their concerns, that their sanctions would remain in place until Doha meets their demands and that they would keep a close eye on Qatar's efforts to fight terrorism funding. Kuwait has been serving as a mediator in trying to resolve the current Gulf crisis.

"We've sent a message to Qatar".