In a second series of emails leaked by the hackers from the inbox of Yousef al-Otaiba, United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the US, it has been revealed how effectively the UAE has managed to cast a major influence over US think-tanks in various political matters including US foreign policy.
Recently, in a revelation made by The Intercept, it was reported that Otaiba, through the UAE embassy in the US, used monetary measures to gain prolific favors from the erstwhile Obama administration.
These emails form a part of the collection that was revealed last month from Otaiba’s official Hotmail account. Among the series of documents obtained, one was an invoice from an influential US national security think tank, which billed the UAE embassy for research papers in return for facilitating the UAE’s purchase of large military-grade weapons from the Missile Technology Control Regime.
The Intercept further reported that though, under President Obama’s administrations, the sale of such weapons was absolutely prohibited, Center for New American Security (CNAS) think tank held a campaign as a result of which UAE was allowed to be an exception and was sold numerous weapons, specifically drones.
In fact, CNAS has been found guilty of billing an invoice to the UAE embassy for $250,000 (over 1.6 crore) for a paper on “the legal regime governing the export of military-grade drones”.
On June 4, 2016, a senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration named Michele Flournoy wrote an email to Otaiba, which read,
Yousef: Here is the CNAS proposal for a project analysing the potential benefits and costs of the UAE joining the MTCR, as we discussed…..Please let us know whether this is what you had in mind.
Two weeks later, Otaiba’s reply followed,
“Thank you for the report,” and further referring to push his country’s agenda forward, he wrote, “I think it will help push the debate in the right direction.”
Emails were quite common between Otaiba and Flournoy. In a different set of emails, Flournoy asked Otaiba to intervene in UAE’s interior ministry and assist in the promotion of selling electronic surveillance technology from a US-based firm, Polaris Wireless, to the UAE.
It is still not clear where these hackers are from to or what their real intentions are – they are called GlobalLeaks – but on The Intercept’s inquiry, they responded saying that they are not affiliated to any country or religion.