US intelligence document describes UAE efforts to influence American politics – report

A classified US intelligence report details efforts undertaken by the United Arab Emirates to influence American politics, offering a scrutinizing look at a close US ally, according to the Washington Post.

Written by the National Intelligence Council, the report says that the UAE has for years – across multiple presidential administrations – illegally and legally attempted to shape US policy. The Post cited three anonymous sources who have read the report, which the council has been showing to policymakers in recent weeks.

Those familiar with the report said that it included influencing measures known to national security officials, but also operations that “more closely resemble espionage”, the Post said. According to the report, the UAE has spent over $154m on lobbyists since 2016 and millions more on donations to US universities.

The National Intelligence Council, an analytical arm of the US intelligence community, has not publicly responded to the report. The UAE’s ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, said he was “proud of the UAE’s influence and good standing in the US”.

“It has been hard earned and well deserved. It is the product of decades of close UAE-US cooperation and effective diplomacy,” he said in a statement to the Post. “It reflects common interests and shared values.”

Experts who spoke to the Post were surprised that the US government critically examined the activity of a close ally.

“The US intelligence community generally stays clear of anything that could be interpreted as studying American domestic politics,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution thinktank who served on the National Intelligence Council in the 1990s, told the newspaper.

He added: “Doing something like this on a friendly power is also unique. It’s a sign that the US intelligence community is willing to take on new challenges.”

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