The United Arab Emirates has been hiring former White House executives and intelligence officials for spying missions, a detailed investigation published by Reuters revealed on Tuesday.
Following the 11 September attacks, the former American counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, warned Congress, that the US needed more expansive spying powers to prevent another catastrophe.
Reuters also revealed that in 2008, Clarke went to work as a consultant, guiding the UAE, as it created a cyber surveillance capability that would utilise top American intelligence contractors to help monitor threats against the small, but wealthy, nation.
Clarke, who possessed good relations with the UAE, helped create the Development Research Exploitation and Analysis Department (DREAD).
Over the following years, the UAE unit expanded its hunt far beyond suspected extremists, to include a Saudi women’s rights activist, diplomats at the United Nations and personnel at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Reuters revealed how a group of former American National Security Agency (NSA) operatives, and other elite US intelligence veterans, helped the UAE to spy on a wide range of targets.
Clarke informed Reuters that he was to create a unit capable of tracking terrorists. He disclosed that the plan which followed US law, was approved by the US State Department, the NSA and Good Harbor Consulting, a cyber risk management company.
“The incentive was to help in the fight against Al-Qaeda. The UAE is a very good counter-terrorism partner. You need to remember the timing back then, post 9-11,” Clarke stressed. “The NSA wanted it to happen.”