Report: Ex-CIA Officer Investigated for Allegedly Spied for Qatar

A former CIA officer allegedly involved in an extensive spying operation on behalf of Qatar ahead of its hosting of the upcoming 2022 World Cup is the subject of an FBI probe, according to an exclusive AP News investigation.

Report: Ex-CIA Officer Investigated for Allegedly Spied for Qatar
Image credit: Rhett Lewis / Unsplash

Facts

  • A former CIA officer allegedly involved in an extensive spying operation on behalf of Qatar ahead of its hosting of the upcoming 2022 World Cup is the subject of an FBI probe, according to an exclusive AP News investigation. His actions reportedly went beyond just sport and resulted in an attempt to influence US policy towards the country.
  • According to two anonymous officials, the FBI's investigation of Kevin Chalker's work for Qatar focuses on whether he and his company, Global Risk Advisors (GRA), broke laws related to foreign lobbying, surveillance, and exporting sensitive technologies and tradecraft.
  • Chalker was reportedly tasked with improving the image of Qatar with US policymakers while undermining those who criticized the Gulf state nation and its monarchy.
  • In addition to allegedly spying on soccer officials from rival countries, Chalker and his firm reportedly engaged in a Facebook "honeypot" scheme to lure and undermine critical officials.
  • GRA also allegedly trained Qatari officials in surveillance and counter-surveillance techniques adopted by US intelligence agencies — banned under US law. The firm also reportedly helped create a plan to allow Qatar to track mobile phones in the country "with extreme accuracy" and allow analysts to "isolate individual conversations and listen in real-time."
  • Chalker's lawyer said the firm sought authorization from the US government whenever its work required, never engaged in any unlawful activity, and was unaware of any federal investigation. The FBI said it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. Qatar and the CIA didn't respond to requests for comment.

Source: Associated Press

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by France24. Qatar has sought to improve its image and accumulate soft power in hosting the 2022 World Cup. However, soft power only works if it's backed up by good behavior. These influence-meddling revelations, alongside evidence of the mistreatment of construction workers and human rights concerns in the country, mean Qatar has been drowning in bad publicity ahead of the tournament this November.
  • Narrative B, as provided by USA Today. Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign of unfair and unfounded criticism since winning the bid to host the World Cup. At first, Qatar sought to engage with the criticism in good faith and dialogue. However, as the campaign of lies and double standards continues, it has reached such a fever pitch that one can't help but wonder whether there's an ulterior motive for these unfounded allegations.