The United Arab Emirates on Monday denied hacking Qatar’s state news agency. Officials in Doha, however, say they believe a report implicating Abu Dhabi in the incident, which sparked a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf this May.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that U.S. intelligence officials became aware last week that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites, posting quotes falsely attributed to Qatar’s emir.
UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash rejected the report. “Of course not. Of course not, and I think already our embassy in Washington has put these denials in place, and I think this is a crisis and is a lot of rumors, a lot of false news and stories.”
Qatar’s government communication office, on the other hand, says the report “unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place.”
The report says it is unclear whether Abu Dhabi carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done.
The U.S. State Department has not commented on the report, saying it does not comment on intelligence matters.
Quotes falsely attributed to Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani in late May called Iran an “Islamic power” and praised the Palestinian Hamas organization. Since the May 24th hacking, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and gave Doha 13 demands after severing diplomatic ties in early June.
Doha rejected the demands, saying they would undermine its sovereignty. Among them were ultimatums that Qatar shut down its Al Jazeera news network, cut ties with Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, limit its links to Iran and expel Turkish troops from its territory.
Source: Voice of America