The United Arab Emirates (UAE) established an electronic spy network that included “former members of the US National Security Agency, with the aim of spying on Qatar”, The New York Times reported.
The US daily said the aim of the hacking network was to prove Qatar’s terrorism financing allegations and Qatar’s funding to the Muslim Brotherhood group.
According to the newspaper, the Abu Dhabi government offered high salaries to members of the spy network, often double or even quadruple their previous salaries.
“We were misled by double financial offers under the cover of working for an allied government of Washington,” a former member of the network told The New York Times.
The UAE has yet to comment on the report.
On January 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt signed a reconciliation deal with Qatar to heal a long-running rift, which started in 2017 after the Saudi-led coalition accused Doha of supporting terrorist groups, an accusation vehemently denied by Qatar.
Among other claims of hacking Qatari interests, in December 2020, it was revealed that a spyware created by an Israeli company was reportedly used by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to hack into the phones and devices of dozens of journalists working for Qatari news outlet Al Jazeera. The hacking attack against Al Jazeera‘s journalists was uncovered when its well-known investigative journalist Tamer Almisshal sought Citizen Lab’s help after he grew suspicious that his phone had been hacked.