U.S. intelligence officials have compiled a classified report detailing extensive efforts to manipulate the American political system by the United Arab Emirates, an influential, oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf long considered a close and trusted partner.
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The activities covered in the report, described to The Washington Post by three people who have read it, include illegal and legal attempts to steer U.S. foreign policy in ways favorable to the Arab autocracy. It reveals the UAE’s bid, spanning multiple U.S. administrations, to exploit the vulnerabilities in American governance, including its reliance on campaign contributions, susceptibility to powerful lobbying firms and lax enforcement of disclosure laws intended to guard against interference by foreign governments, these people said. Each spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information.
The document was compiled by the National Intelligence Council and briefed to top U.S. policymakers in recent weeks to guide their decision-making related to the Middle East and the UAE, which enjoys outsize influence in Washington. The report is remarkable in that it focuses on the influence operations of a friendly nation rather than an adversarial power such as Russia, China or Iran. It is also uncommon for a U.S. intelligence product to closely examine interactions involving U.S. officials given its mandate to focus on foreign threats. [Continue reading…]