Team of American Hackers and Emirati Spies Discussed Attacking The Intercept
The Intercept: Operatives at a controversial cybersecurity firm working for the United Arab Emirates government discussed targeting The Intercept and breaching the computers of its employees, according to two sources, including a member of the hacking team who said they were present at a meeting to plan for such an attack. The firm, DarkMatter, brought ex-National Security Agency hackers and other U.S. intelligence and military veterans together with Emirati analysts to compromise the computers of political dissidents at home and abroad, including American citizens, Reuters revealed in January. The news agency also reported that the FBI is investigating DarkMatter’s use of American hacking expertise and the possibility that it was wielded against Americans.
The campaign against dissidents and critics of the Emirati government, code-named Project Raven, began in Baltimore. A 2016 Intercept article by reporter Jenna McLaughlin revealed how the Maryland-based computer security firm CyberPoint assembled a team of Americans for a contract to hone UAE’s budding hacking and surveillance capabilities, leaving some recruits unsettled. Much of the CyberPoint team was later poached by DarkMatter, a firm with close ties to the Emirati government and headquartered just two floors from the Emirati equivalent of the NSA, the National Electronic Security Authority (which later became the Signals Intelligence Agency).
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