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Qatar hacked by Arab neighbor states, not Russia, as previously reported by CNN

The reason cited by CNN for the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict, in which a coalition of Saudi-led states cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, originates with a CNN report (via its always handy anonymous sources bullwhip), that Russia is believed to have been behind a Qatar news hack.

CNN propaganda word-play is highlighted in bold underline…

US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.

Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.

The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.

The goal of Russian hackers, according to CNN’s unnamed US officials…

US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.

It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”

The FBI and CIA declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Qatari embassy in Washington said the investigation is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon.

Russian officials immediately denied the allegations, and they were correct to do so, as moments ago Qatar announced that the news agency cited by CNN as being “hacked by Russian” was in reality hacked by states linked to the boycott and blockade of Qatar.

According to a report cited by Reuters, Qatar’s attorney general has stated that Arab neighbor states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) were responsible for the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency…

Qatar’s attorney general said on Tuesday his country has evidence that the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut their ties with Doha earlier this month over comments alleged to have been made by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency’s website on May 23 which Doha said had been hacked.

The comments quoted Sheikh Tamim as cautioning against confrontation with Iran and defending the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite movement allied with Tehran.

U.S. and European officials have said that while U.S government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government’s Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

“Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack,” the Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha.

Marri said it was too early to explicitly name the countries responsible for the hacking and declined to comment when he was asked if individuals or states were behind it.

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