Witness in US Congress Qatar hearing 'was on UAE payroll'

Witness in US Congress Qatar hearing 'was on UAE payroll'
Leaked emails suggest that one of the main witnesses at a congressional hearing on relations with Qatar was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Doha's regional rival.
2 min read
28 July, 2017
The invoice came from UAE ambassador Otaiba's leaked email inbox [Getty]
An expert witness to a US Congressional hearing on Washington's relationship with Qatar had allegedly received $250,000 from the UAE ambassador to the US, according to a leaked email.

Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East security programme at the Washington-based think-tank The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is alleged to have received the payment in July 2016.

The invoice copy came from a hacking group known as 'Global Leaks', who sent it to the Institute for Gulf Affairs before the hearing on Wednesday.

UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba's emails were hacked and released in part in June and several revealing stories about the UAE's covert operations have since emerged.

The hackers claim the full database shows a clear picture of the UAE's lobbying arm and its detrimental effects on US interests abroad.

The emails were reportedly provided by a paid whistle-blower from a think-tank based in Washington DC. A selected batch were released to various media outlets as proof.

The emails suggest CNAS was on the regular payroll of the UAE government and frequently lobbied for arms deals on their behalf.

According to Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Wednesday's hearing at Congress explored "the relative merits of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain's demands, the role of the United States throughout the dispute's development, and potential options for its resolution".

The UAE is one of the four blockading nations that have demanded Qatar reconsider its foreign and domestic policies.