Qatar Behind Hack on GOP Donor With Business Ties to Rival UAE, Lawyer Says

Qatar alleged to run spy operation, hack attack via D.C.-based agents

cyber hack
Getty Images
March 20, 2018

The Qatari government has conducted wide-ranging cyber attack on a prominent Republican fundraiser and Trump ally, according to his legal representatives, who claim in a previously unreported letter to Qatari leaders that they have evidence Doha conducted a series of cyber attacks on U.S. citizens via agents stationed in Washington, D.C.

Legal representatives for Elliott Broidy, a prominent Republican fundraiser and philanthropist, informed Qatari leaders on Monday that they have uncovered forensic evidence tying the Qatari government to a massive hack on Broidy that led to a series of damaging stories in the U.S. press, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Broidy's representatives say that Qatari government-tied agents stationed in Washington, D.C., helped conduct the cyber attack, which has raised questions about Broidy's work with Qatar's Gulf-region rival in the United Arab Emirates. Broidy has not been formally registered with the Department of Justice to represent the UAE, but the leaked emails show Broidy was reporting back to UAE representatives regarding meetings he held with President Trump and senior administration officials.

Broidy's representatives write in the letter that Qatari government-tied agents stationed in Washington, D.C., helped conduct the cyber attack.

"We now possess irrefutable forensic evidence tying Qatar to this unlawful attack on, and espionage directed against, a prominent U.S. citizen within the territory of the United States," Lee Wolosky, a lawyer from the legal team Boies Schiller Flexner, wrote to Qatari Emir Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani. "We have made aware, or are in the process of making aware, relevant U.S. authorities, including U.S. counterintelligence authorities."

Qatar's state-funded Al Jazeera also has been under fire for conducting a spy operation on American Jews and Israel supporters as part of a documentary it claims will expose Jewish control of politics. Disclosures of this operation have sparked congressional requests the Trump administration investigate Al Jazeera and designate it as a foreign agent under U.S. law.

The hack attack on Broidy has only further roiled foreign policy insiders tied to the Trump administration who say Trump must take action against Qatar for its hack on one of his top supporters.

Some of the materials disseminated in the wake of the hack were later said to be forged or altered, according to those familiar with the situation.

Broidy, who runs an intelligence firm called Circinus that has multi-million dollar contracts with UAE, maintains the Qatari government orchestrated the hack and altered some documents that were eventually leaked to the press.

While working with Qatar, Broidy secured lucrative contracts with the UAE to provide security services through Circunus.

Broidy's intermediary with the UAE government, the hacked emails purport to show, was George Nader, a UAE adviser tied to Trump associates who was recently detained by FBI investigators as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation. This has raised questions about whether Broidy himself may be a focus of the Special Counsel in relation to his work with the UAE.

Broidy's legal representatives claim in their letter that cyber crime forensic analysts revealed Qatari agents were behind it.

"The individuals located in Qatar tied to this attack evidently believed they could maintain anonymity by trying to disguise their malicious activity targeting Mr. Broidy's servers," the letter states. "They were wrong. Mr. Broidy's advanced cyber crime forensics unit has established Qatar's ties to this illegal hacking operation."

Evidence unearthed by Broidy's team shows that the Qatari government played a key role in the hack, the letter says.

"Your government appears to believe it could maintain plausible deniability by relying on layers of registered and unregistered agents in Washington, D.C., to target Mr. Broidy and disseminate false and stolen information about him," it states. "This too was wrong. We have clear evidence of the role of your agents in Washington in targeting and harming Mr. Broidy."

Broidy's team is demanding that Qatari leaders instruct all "parties under your government's control cease and desist disseminating stolen property," according to the letter.

One veteran foreign policy operative with intimate knowledge of the Qatar controversy told the Free Beacon that Doha went too far in its illicit operations and is now likely to suffer repercussions from U.S. authorities.

"Qatar is about to realize that it overstepped by using their state supported hacking campaign to target a private U.S. citizen," the source said.

Published under: Qatar