UAE government hackers targeted FIFA and Qatar 2022 execs, says report

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December 11 – FIFA were the target of spying and hacking by the United Arab Emirates as US intelligence agents helped the Emirate to build a secret surveillance unit, a Reuters report has revealed.

Under the cover of rounding up Al Qaeda, the UAE built an extensive and controversial spy programme with the aid of Richard Clarke, a former US intelligence officer and top aide to both Bill Clinton and George Bush, Clarke helped to create a secret unit ‘DREAD’ – Development Research Exploitation and Analysis Department – which was tasked to monitor threats against the UAE and terrorists, but in the years that followed operations were expanded to include spying on a Saudi women’s rights activist, diplomats at the United Nations and FIFA personnel.

In 2010, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup in a bid process marred by multiple controversies. In 2014, DREAD targeted directors at the world federation and administrators of Qatar’s Supreme Committee, the local body tasked with delivering the World Cup.

The UAE wanted to acquire and steal damaging info about their neighbour’s successful World Cup bid. Ex-NSA analyst Chris Smith planned the operation. Among the targets were Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the brother of Qatar’s Emir, Hassan Al Thawadi, Phaedra Almajid, Mohamed Bin Hammam, Amos Adamu, Jacques Anouma, Issa Hayatou, Nicolas Leoz and Jack Warner.

The hackers sent boobytrapped Facebook messages and emails containing a malicious link to a website called ‘worldcupgirls’ according to the Reuters Investigation. The Supreme Committee didn’t comment on the case and FIFA said that it was not aware of any hacking related to Qatar’s World Cup bid.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1702262714labto1702262714ofdlr1702262714owedi1702262714sni@o1702262714fni1702262714