World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA

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World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA



The tiny Arab nation of Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to assist spy on soccer officers as a part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and maintain on to the 2022 World Cup event, an investigation by The Related Press has discovered.It is a part of a pattern of former U.S. intelligence officers going to work for international governments with questionable human rights data that’s worrying officers in Washington and prompting calls from some members of Congress for larger scrutiny of an opaque and profitable market.The World Cup is the planet’s hottest sports activities event. It is also an opportunity for Qatar, one of many wealthiest nations on the earth, to have a coming-out occasion on the world stage.The AP’s investigation discovered Qatar sought an edge in securing internet hosting rights by hiring former CIA officer turned non-public contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on rival bid groups and key soccer officers who picked the winner in 2010. Chalker additionally labored for Qatar within the years that adopted to maintain tabs on the nation’s critics within the soccer world, the AP discovered.The AP’s investigation is predicated on interviews with Chalker’s former associates in addition to contracts, invoices, emails, and a overview of enterprise paperwork.The surveillance work included having somebody pose as a photojournalist to maintain tabs on a rival nation’s bid and deploying a Fb honeypot, during which somebody posed on-line as a gorgeous lady, to get near a goal, a overview of the data present.Operatives working for Chalker and the Persian Gulf sheikhdom additionally sought cellular phone name logs of at the very least one prime FIFA official forward of the 2010 vote, a overview of the data present.Chalker additionally promised he might assist the nation “keep dominance” over its massive inhabitants of international staff, an inside doc from certainly one of Chalker’s firms reviewed by the AP reveals. Qatar — a rustic with a inhabitants of two.8 million, of whom solely 300,000 are residents — is closely reliant on foreign-born labor to construct the stadiums and different infrastructure wanted for the event.Qatari authorities officers didn’t reply to requests for remark. FIFA additionally declined to remark.Chalker, who opened an workplace in Doha and had a Qatari authorities electronic mail account, mentioned in an announcement offered by a consultant that he and his firms wouldn’t “ever have interaction in unlawful surveillance.” Chalker declined requests for an interview or to reply detailed questions on his work for the Qatari authorities. He additionally claimed that a few of the paperwork reviewed by the AP have been forgeries.The AP reviewed tons of of pages of paperwork from Chalker’s firms, together with a 2013 mission replace report that had a number of photographs of Chalker’s workers assembly with varied soccer officers.A number of sources with licensed entry offered paperwork to the AP. The sources mentioned they have been troubled by Chalker’s work for Qatar and requested anonymity as a result of they feared retaliation.The AP took a number of steps to confirm the paperwork’ authenticity. That features confirming particulars of varied paperwork with totally different sources, together with former Chalker associates and soccer officers; cross-checking contents of paperwork with contemporaneous information accounts and publicly accessible enterprise data; and inspecting digital paperwork’ metadata, or digital historical past, the place accessible, to verify who made the paperwork and when.Chalker didn’t present to the AP any proof to help his place that a few of the paperwork in query had been solid.Lots of the paperwork reviewed by the AP outlining work undertaken by Chalker and his firms on behalf of Qatar are additionally described in a lawsuit filed by Elliott Broidy, a one-time fundraiser for former U.S.President Donald Trump. Broidy is suing Chalker and has accused him of mounting a widespread hacking and spying marketing campaign at Qatar’s path that features utilizing former western intelligence officers to surveil FIFA officers.Broidy’s legal professionals didn’t reply to requests for remark. Chalker’s authorized crew has argued the lawsuit is meritless.Former associates say Chalker’s firms have offered a wide range of companies to Qatar along with intelligence work. His firm International Threat Advisors payments itself as “a world strategic consultancy specializing in cybersecurity, navy and regulation enforcement coaching, and intelligence-based advisory companies” and its associates have received small contracts with the FBI for a rope-training course and tech consulting work for the Democratic Nationwide Committee.Chalker labored on the CIA as an operations officer for about 5 years, in accordance with former associates. Operations officers sometimes work undercover attempting to recruit belongings to spy on behalf of america. The CIA declined to remark and doesn’t normally focus on its former officers.Chalker’s background within the CIA was engaging to Qatari officers, mentioned former associates.”That was a part of his mystique. All these younger rich Qataris are taking part in spy video games with this man and he is promoting them,” mentioned one former affiliate, who like others interviewed by the AP, spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they feared retribution for revealing the spying efforts of Qatar.The non-public surveillance enterprise has flourished within the final decade within the Persian Gulf because the area noticed the rise of an info warfare utilizing state-sponsored hacking operations which have coincided with the run-up to the World Cup. 



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