The United Arab Emirates has been trying to meddle in American politics for decades — even going so far as to employ former US intelligence officials to surveil American leaders, a new report claims.
The Persian Gulf nation has been exploiting vulnerabilities in American governance through legal and illegal avenues in an effort to push the US toward policies that benefit the UAE, three people who read a classified National Intelligence Council report told the Washington Post.
Such vulnerabilities include “reliance on campaign contributions, susceptibility to powerful lobbying firms and lax enforcement of disclosure laws intended to guard against interference by foreign governments,” the report said.
Some of the UAE’s manipulative operations are known to national security professionals, while other attempts more closely resemble espionage, the Washington Post said.
The alleged meddling has spanned multiple presidential administrations, according to the report.
The three individuals did not provide a copy of the report to the newspaper.
The UAE allegedly hired three former US intelligence and military officials to help the Arab nation surveil “dissidents, politicians, journalists and US companies” by breaking into computers in the US and other counties.
The men admitted to giving the UAE advanced hacking technology in federal court last year, the Washington Post reported. They gave up their security clearance and paid about $1.7 million to resolve criminal charges, but were not given prison time.
Tom Barrack, a Donald Trump ally, was accused of conspiring with the UAE and providing inside information on the administration in a similar fashion. He was found not guilty last week.
The US and UAE have a friendly, but tense relationship that has been increasingly strained since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UAE has seemingly sided with Russia by drastically cutting oil production, prompting Democrats to propose withdrawing troops from the nation, as well as Saudi Arabia.
Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, told the Washington Post he is “proud of the UAE’s influence and good standing in the US.”
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