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Lawsuit Alleges Former CIA Employees Were Hired By Qatar To Hack A Republican Financier

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Qatar is being accused by prominent Republican financier Elliott Broidy of hiring a team of former CIA and U.S. military intelligence officials to carry out what he says was criminal activity against himself and his business, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on the allegations Tuesday, and SaraACarter.com has spoken to people familiar with the matter. Broidy’s lawsuit, reviewed by this columnist, goes into explosive details about the alleged cyber-espionage operation led by the Qatari government against him and his business in 2018.

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It also raises significant and astounding questions as to what happens when highly trained U.S. intelligence officials take contracts from foreign nations they once were required to surveil. It sounds like an action novel, but it’s not and that’s exactly what Broidy alleges in his lawsuit.

Broidy’s complaint alleges that an American company, whose employees are highly trained NSA, CIA and military officials, were hired by the government of Qatar to illegally obtain information from his computer in an effort to discredit him for speaking out against them.

He states that Global Risk Advisors (GRA), a New York-based private security firm whose employees are considered highly trained specialists by the U.S. Intelligence Community, was hired and paid a substantial amount of money to conduct the illegal operation against his company. The court filing stated that GRA had received more than $100 million from Qatar to hack, surveil, and silence American citizens, as well as others, who had been critical of the oil-rich state.

GRA did not immediately respond to an email for fair comment. SaraACarter.com also called the general One World Trade Center phone number, which is listed as their office location on GRA’s website. They informed this website that the company is no longer located in the building. This story will be updated if and when Chalker or a representative for GRA responds. 

Broidy stated in the suit that the operation against him was due to his “high-profile criticism of Qatar.”  His complaint includes detailed information about how GRA’s  “world-class hackers,” targeted him personally, along with FIFA Officials, who had oversight regarding the country’s World Cup 2022 Bid. Broidy’s lawsuit comes in the wake of other allegations that Qatar peddles influence and allegedly bribed FIFA officials to secure the 2022 World Cup, as reported by The New York Times. 

“In recent years, Qatar, a wealthy Persian Gulf state, has become increasingly prominent in the sponsorship of terrorism, openly hosting organizations such as Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban,” Broidy’s complaint states. “Surprisingly, despite these notorious and quite public connections with terrorism, Qatar has embarked upon a strategy of gaining influence in Western nations, including the United States, through a campaign of retaining Western political lobbyists and operatives.”

The complaint noted that the efforts by Qatar have crossed legal boundaries and suggests that most prominently was “Qatar’s procurement of the 2022 World Cup through widespread bribery.”

“In response, Mr. Broidy’s work had more recently turned to bringing significant public condemnation to Qatar, including from the President of the United States and several Congressional leaders,” the complaint states.  “This case is brought against Americans who, for hire, assisted Qatar’s ‘dirty tricks’ campaign against Mr. Broidy, one calculated to silence him and to serve as a chilling example to others of what happens to those who oppose Qatar.”

Those Americans, said Broidy, were hired to help Qatari leaders secure a bid for the 2020 World Cup bid and advance other interests.

“GRA actively pitched Qatar by offering Qatar access to some of the most highly trained former counterintelligence personnel in the world—to help secure Qatar’s status as host,” states the complaint. “As controversy swirled in subsequent years, the GRA Defendants outlined their ability to employ intelligence community skills and covert action campaigns to neutralize key voices in the growing choir of critics who advocated that World Cup 2022 be reassigned to a different host country.”

According to Broidy’s complaint, the effort to smear him was allegedly headed by GRA CEO Kevin Chalker, a former CIA operative and Yale adjunct professor.

Moreover, the lawsuit states that Chalker led the campaign to silence Theo Zwanziger, the former president of the German Football Association. At the time, Zwanziger was serving as a member of FIFA’s executive committee. He had actively promoted the idea of taking back Qatar’s successful hosting bid and awarding it to a different country, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that GRA allegedly acted “to neutralize Mr. Zwanziger, by targeting him and influencing people close to him through covert influence and operations. The assignment included infiltrating FIFA itself.”

“Mr. Chalker and GRA’s tactics included a covert action program, so-called “black ops,” and the use of IT platforms. They targeted individuals and entities across multiple continents, set up and terminated multiple ‘cover for action’ entities in various jurisdictions…By the spring of 2014, Mr. Chalker and GRA had succeeded—Mr. Zwanziger had come full circle, and his public statements now generally supported World Cup 2022 remaining in Qatar as a way to improve social justice reform efforts there,” it states.

GRA had requested more than $500 million for the contract work they conducted with Qatar, according to the complaint. Ultimately, however, the company received consulting contracts worth at least $100 million, the complaint alleges.

Chalker and GRA “identified and proposed multiple national security enhancements and surveillance work, including ‘Project Deviant,” in which GRA would train Qatari officers in defensive counter-intelligence and offensive intelligence collection tactics, including advanced, sophisticated skills that trained former U.S. intelligence and military operatives are typically barred from sharing or conferring unto foreign governments,” the complaint alleges.

The complaint documents GRA’s expertise and exposes a company produced promotional video done in 2015, which reveals “advanced techniques to penetrate target networks.” The video also allegedly discusses methods to “intrude into servers”, including “spear phishing” campaigns, according to the court filing.

GRA allegedly “agreed to engage in, and did in fact manage and execute, a series of cyberattacks and other misappropriation of Mr. Broidy’s private communications and documents,” the lawsuit claims. “The purpose of the hacks was to obtain access to Mr. Broidy’s confidential documents so that they could be manipulated and strategically disseminated to damage Mr. Broidy economically and as a spokesperson for opponents of Qatar’s support of terrorism.”

According to Broidy, in December 2017, GRA initiated a ‘spearfishing’ hack into Broidy’s personal computer.  The complaint alleges that the operation was personally directed by Chalker, stating that he “celebrated the launch of the spear phishing campaign that very night, on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, by taking associates to the Sapphire Gentlemen’s club in New York City.”

Broidy’s lawsuit and sources claim “that the ‘spearfishing’ incident was not isolated but a coordinated effort carried out by GRA at the behest of the Qatari government as part of the firm’s “special projects,” that illicitly targeted U.S. critics of Qatar.”

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Middle East

Scott Mann says botched Afghanistan withdrawal was a failure on the Afghan government

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Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Mannn discussed the withdrawal from Afghanistan in depth on the latest episode of The Sara Carter Show. Mann claims that although it was a botched withdrawal, our service members did their best. Instead, the government is to blame for the failure.

“Our Vets led the way when the government failed,” Mann said. “They fought till the last bullet. They fought until the bitter end, even when their president and their generals took bribes and abandoned them.” Therefore, Mann is advocating for immediate visas to these Afghan Special Forces.

Meanwhile, families like Sara Carter’s have stepped up to help Afghans out of the country. “It was the veteran population, for the most part, and the military family population who looked at this and said: ‘Okay, fine, nobody else is coming. I’ll do it.’ And we picked up our cell phones. We started working together to find ways to try to guide and shepherd our Afghan friends to some kind of safety, if not freedom,” Mann said. “We need their help. People like you [Sara Carter] who’ve been on this problem from the very beginning. You know, you’re on a 911 dispatch call, and you’re the dispatcher. You’ve been on the call for a month, and you are the dispatcher that is assisting a family who is being murdered one by one. You’re staying on the line with them as this is occurring. You have no shift relief.”

So Mann is lobbying Congress to write a law, that any Afghan who went through the school of excellence as a commando Afghan Special Forces, should have an immediate visa.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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