Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash on Monday dismissed a report in the Washington Post newspaper that cited US intelligence officials saying that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatar’s official news agency that sparked the Qatar-Gulf diplomatic crisis, one of the triggers that pitted four Arab states against the gas-rich nation.
“The Washington Post story is not true, simply not true,” Gargash said during a question-and-answer session after an address to the Chatham House think-tank in London.
Qatar said on Monday that a U.S. media report had shown that the UAE was involved in an alleged hack of Qatar’s state news agency in late May that resulted in false statements being attributed to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar’s emir.
The move came two weeks after Qatar’s news agency, QNA, carried a story quoting Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, as praising the Palestinian group which governs the Gaza Strip, Islamist Hamas movement and calling Iran an “Islamic power”.
Thereafter, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5 and cut all diplomatic and transport ties with the country, accusing it of financing Islamist militant groups and allying with their regional adversary Iran – allegations Qatar denies.
The report cited US officials claiming that American intelligence had information showing that senior UAE government members discussed the plan a day before the comments appeared on Qatari news media and social media sites on May 24. The officials did not know whether the UAE carried out the hack themselves, or contracted the job to others.
Gargash said the four Arab powers were discussing imposing new sanctions on Qatar.