A group of hackers stole e-mails from the UAE’s Ambassador to the United States account and threatened to release them in full on Saturday, exposing the UAE’s ties to Israel and its incitement of anti-democratic movements within the Middle East.
The group, which calls itself “GlobalLeaks” and uses a Russian email account address, told reporters it will release every email in Yousef Al-Otaiba’s account.
The hackers claim the full database shows a clear picture of the UAE’s lobbying arm and detrimental effects on US interests abroad.
The group said the leaks “reveal how millions of dollars were used to hurt [the] reputation of American allies and cause policy changes,” especially in regards to Qatar, Turkey, Israel, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood group as a whole.
The e-mails also show a clear picture of the back-channels the UAE ambassador has taken to ensure the UAE’s views on the Arab Spring and change in the region are promoted abroad.
The emails show a “growing link” between the UAE and pro-Israel think-tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). One of FDD’s senior councillors John Hannah “continued to exchange” a series of e-mails with Otaiba in which the two emphasise the positive relations between UAE officials and FDD.
Ironically, the FDD has on many occasions accused Saudi Arabia of promoting extremism within the region.
Just last month, on May 8, Hannah invited Otaiba to an event, intended to smear Qatar for its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Hannah asked Otaiba to spread the word, voicing “deep concern” of Qatar’s support for democratically elected governments.
Anti-democratic sentiments were also displayed when the two “gloated” about their alleged role in catalysing the attempted coup of 2016 in Turkey.
A month after the Turkish coup attempt, Hannah sent Otaiba an article claiming that the UAE and FDD were both responsible in conspiring to orchestrate it. Hannah allegedly wrote to Otaiba saying that FDD is “honoured that we’re in your company”.
In 2013, Otaiba sent regular emails to contacts throughout Washington, praising the overthrow of deposed Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi.
Following the Egypt coup, Otaiba sent an e-mail to former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten on his views on the coup. He had reportedly told Bolten that by not siding with Sisi, the US would “be abandoning the moderates”.
The emails were reportedly provided by a paid whistle-blower from a think-tank based in Washington DC and a selected batch were released to various media outlets as proof.
It has not been confirmed or verified whether GlobalLeaks is connected to DC Leaks or the Kremlin.
Otaiba is well-known figure in US national security circles and has been named “the most charming man in Washington.” He reportedly gave out iPads to journalists and other political types as Christmas presents. He has also participated in Pentagon strategy meetings at the invitation of the defence officials.