The United Arab Emirates (UAE) tapped into the private emails between former First Lady of the Unites States Michelle Obama and Qatar's Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, claims a new report published in The New York Times. The article is based on the book titled 'This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends', written its cybersecurity journalist Nicole Perlroth.
The report published in the outlet also speaks about the manner in which UAE lured multiple NSA analysts to join them by offering them increased salaries and luxurious lifestyle in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Hired Americans for Espionage
The report in The New York Times included the statement given by David Evenden, a former National Security Agency [NSA] analyst, who joined the mission in 2014. According to the Times, Evenden was among "two dozen other NSA analysts and contractors" sent to Abu Dhabi after being lured to the UAE "by a boutique Beltway contractor" who promised to "quadruple" their salaries and lead a luxurious "tax-free life".
Following his 'terror cell tracking' mission, Evenden was given the assignment to breach the emails of Qatari royals and officials to ascertain if the Gulf state was funding the Muslim Brotherhood. The outlet further reported that Evenden was left shocked after he came across Michelle Obama's email in 2015.
The former first lady was invited by Sheikha Moza to appear in the annual World Innovation Summit for Education [WISE] to promote her "Let Girls Learn" initiative. The hacked mails revealed personal interactions, security details, and an itinerary change related to the summit.
"That was the moment I said, 'we shouldn't be doing this'...we should not be targeting these people," Evenden told Perlroth. Following the startling revelation, Evenden along with some of his American colleagues flew back to the US.
Evenden's Friends at NSA Spoke About "Cool Job Offer" from Abu Dhabi
Al Jazeera reported that under Project Raven, hackers used cyber-espionage tools to help the UAE undertake surveillance of other governments, armed groups, and human rights activists critical of the monarchy. The outlet further reported that the Raven operatives deployed espionage platform Karma to hack into the iPhones of hundreds of activists, political leaders and suspected terrorists.
According to NYT report, Evenden, after returning to the US soil, was contacted by NSA colleagues who sought his advice after getting a "really cool job offer" from Abu Dhabi. "Don't go. This is not the work you think you will be doing," he was quoted by the author.
Doha News cited French investigative journal 'MediaPart' which revealed about UAE bribing international journalists to start a media defamation campaign against Qatar. The journal also includes the claim made by a Spanish journalist, Raul Redondo, about Qatar funding Hezbollah and paying large sums of money to militants around the world.