UAE hacked Qatar government websites: report

UAE hacked Qatar government websites: report
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The United Arab Emirates led an effort to hack Qatari government news and social media websites, sparking a diplomatic crisis, according to a new report from The Washington Post.

U.S. intelligence agencies were able to confirm to officials that senior members of the UAE government had discussed a plan to breach the government-run websites in May, the Post said.

The hack included attributing false statements calling Iran an Islamic power and speaking positively about the militant group Hamas to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani.

The officials told the Post they do not know whether the UAE had a direct hand in the hacks or whether they hired outside help.

The falsified statements were the cause of a diplomatic crisis in the region when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain accused the country of supporting terrorism.

Qatar was barred from participating in coalition fighting in Yemen, and Qatari citizens were given two weeks to leave the other Gulf nations.

President Trump, who had been working to foster better relations with Saudi Arabia, blasted Qatar in June, calling the country “a funder of terrorism.”

“The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level," he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, called for all sides to de-escalate. 

The U.S. and Qatar signed an agreement in July aimed at planning efforts to disrupt future terrorism funding.