Emirates Leaks

The new spy scandal of the UAE provokes international reactions


Reuters reported that the sophisticated spy device “Karma” has enabled the UAE to monitor hundreds of figures since 2016, and at the top of the target list was the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, his brother and a number of close advisers.

The operation also targeted Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakul Kerman, a senior Turkish official, and UAE dissidents and political activists.

The New York Times foreign affairs correspondent wondered on his twitter account about the identities of the three journalists who the Reuters report said the UAE had spied on.

Some US research center experts responded that they thought he was personally one of those targets. Some of the experts said it was possible that the passed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Washington Post editor Karen Atiya were on the list.

While there is no confirmation of the identity of those spied on by the UAE, the disclosure of these individuals could be a major blow to the reputation of the UAE in Washington as an important ally.

Journalist and expert on spy affairs, Jana McAvelin, said the spy scandal began in the previous reports of the company “Dark Mater” on Intercept site, when it was mentioned that it is larger than an electronic security company.

“The UAE is recruiting an army of hackers to monitor the UAE people collectively. It looks like a James Bond film, but according to several months of interviews and research it turns out that Dark Matter is already spying on the UAE people,” McAvelin said.

Camilla Francois, a technology expert and former Google official, said in a tweet that the spy scandal was “This story is completely wild, yet also rings of “should have seen it coming”. It involves ex-NSA personnel spying on US journalists and foreign dissidents for a secret UAE program.”

According to a report by the Congressional Research Unit before the end of December, “Human rights experts believe that Washington condones the UAE government’s violations of human rights and freedom of the press because of the strategic relationship between the two countries.”

The report also points to “the UAE government closure of American and European human rights organizations on its territory and the expulsion of its employees.”

“What we learned about the report of the Raven Project raises some interest in the extent of the UAE’s targeting of journalists,” said Sharif Mansour, the Middle East official at the Committee to Protect Journalists in Washington.

Although no official US reactions to Reuters’s report, which documented the UAE’s espionage of its political opponents, the report increases the focus of official and informal US circles on Abu Dhabi, in the middle of the speculation about possible repercussions.

“The consequences of the publication of the Reuters report will not be immediately quick in the form of angry statements by some members of Congress,” An aide to the House of Representatives said. “But there will be reviews of the nature of intelligence cooperation between Washington and Abu Dhabi, in the light of what unfolds in successive actions that should not be carried out by an ally of Washington. “

The Yemeni activist, Tawakul Kerman, in a tweet said “The US administration must investigate the news of the spying scandal in the UAE and the involvement of American companies owned by Americans who previously worked for US intelligence in this scandal.”

It should be noted that there are no legal restrictions on the work of former government employees in US or foreign private companies as long as they do not disclose the secrets they know about national security.

A quick look at employment and job search sites like Indeed or LinkedIn can make sure there are hundreds of requests to hire former intelligence personnel in companies working with the US government or with foreign governments.

The FBI is currently investigating whether former intelligence officials have violated the confidentiality of the information they receive through their work on the UAE’s Raven projects.