U.S. investigators believe that Russian hackers planted a fake news story in Qatar's news agency to cause a rift between Qatar and other allies of the United States in the region, U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday.
On May 23, a report from the Qatar News Agency falsely attributed positive remarks about Iran and Israel and negative comments about President Trump to the ruler of Qatar. Investigators reportedly think this fake report helped push Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and three other countries to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, saying the country was financing terrorism. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN he thinks "the entire crisis" is based on "misinformation."
The intelligence that has been gathered so far points to the hackers being Russian, although it is unclear if they are part of a criminal network or state security services, CNN reports. Qatar is home to one of the largest U.S. military bases in the area.