Ex-CIA man employed by Qatar to spy on rivals for World Cup bid, report says

Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to assist spy on soccer officers as a part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and maintain on to the 2022 Fifa World Cup event, an investigation by the Related Press (AP) has discovered.

he AP’s probe discovered Qatar sought an edge in securing internet hosting rights by hiring a former CIA officer turned personal contractor, Kevin Chalker, to spy on rival bid groups and soccer officers who picked the winner in 2010.

He additionally labored for Qatar within the years that adopted to maintain tabs on the nation’s critics within the soccer world.

The investigation relies on interviews with Mr Chalker’s former associates in addition to contracts, invoices, emails and a assessment of enterprise paperwork. The surveillance work included having somebody pose as a photojournalist to maintain tabs on a rival nation’s bid, a assessment of data exhibits.

Mr Chalker additionally promised he may assist the nation “keep dominance” over its giant inhabitants of overseas employees, an inner doc from certainly one of his firms reviewed by the AP exhibits.

Qatar is closely reliant on overseas labour to construct the stadiums and different infrastructure for the event.

Qatari authorities officers didn’t reply to requests for remark. Fifa additionally declined to remark.

Mr Chalker stated in a press release offered by a consultant that he and his firms wouldn’t “ever have interaction in unlawful surveillance”.

He declined requests for an interview or to reply detailed questions on his work. He additionally claimed that a few of the paperwork reviewed by the AP had been forgeries.

The AP reviewed a whole lot of pages of paperwork from Mr Chalker’s firms, together with a 2013 undertaking replace report that had a number of pictures of his employees assembly soccer officers.

Sources with authorised entry offered paperwork to the AP. The sources stated they had been troubled by Mr Chalker’s work for Qatar and requested anonymity as a result of they feared retaliation.

The AP took a number of steps to confirm the paperwork’ authenticity. These included confirming particulars with completely different sources, together with former Chalker associates and soccer officers; cross-checking contents of paperwork with contemporaneous information accounts and publicly out there enterprise data; and inspecting digital paperwork’ metadata, or digital historical past, the place out there, to verify who made the paperwork and when.

Mr Chalker labored on the CIA as an operations officer for about 5 years, based on former associates. Operations officers usually work undercover attempting to recruit belongings to spy on behalf of the US.  

Mr Chalker’s background within the CIA was enticing to Qatari officers, stated former associates. “That was a part of his mystique. All these younger rich Qataris are taking part in spy video games with this man and he’s promoting them,” stated one former affiliate.

The Sunday Instances beforehand reported that unnamed ex-CIA brokers helped Qatar’s 2010 bid staff, however the AP’s investigation is essentially the most detailed but.

Qatar’s profitable bid has lengthy been dogged by allegations of corruption. It has denied wrongdoing, however has additionally needed to fend off allegations by labour watchdogs of employee abuses and an effort by neighbouring international locations to isolate, weaken and embarrass it by means of an financial boycott and informational warfare.

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