A group of American hackers who once worked for U.S. intelligence agencies helped the United Arab Emirates spy on a BBC host, the chairman of Al Jazeera and other prominent Arab media figures during a tense 2017 confrontation pitting the UAE and its allies against the Gulf state of Qatar.
The American operatives worked for Project Raven, a secret Emirati intelligence program that spied on dissidents, militants and political opponents of the UAE monarchy. A Reuters investigation in January revealed Project Raven’s existence and inner workings, including the fact that it surveilled a British activist and several unnamed U.S. journalists.
The Raven operatives — who included at least nine former employees of the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.S. military — found themselves thrust into the thick of a high-stakes dispute among America’s Gulf allies. The Americans’ role in the UAE-Qatar imbroglio highlights how former U.S. intelligence officials have become key players in the cyber wars of other nations, with little oversight from Washington.
Dana Shell Smith, the former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, said she found it alarming that American intelligence veterans were able to work for another government in targeting an American ally. She said Washington should better supervise U.S. government-trained hackers after they leave the intelligence community.
“Folks with these skill sets should not be able to knowingly or unknowingly undermine U.S. interests or contradict U.S. values,” Smith told Reuters.
Wait, so once you are trained for something by the US government, basically you have entered into an enslaved indenture? You may only work for who the US decides you may work for ever after? Or… what, they assassinate you?