American Journalist Peter Baker released a shocking document regarding a Saudi espionage attempt on more than 2600 American political figures.
A fresh leaked documents reveals that Saudi Arabia had the main role in a bid to spy on 2600 American authorities. The leak shows that Saudi Intelligence apparatus launched the attempts through the controversial Israeli spyware.
Peter Baker, American journalist and author, released the document in his website last Sunday. According to Baker, Riyadh has potentially infiltrated multiple Senators, House Representatives, and the political parties. Besides, according to Baker, economic experts, lobbyists, and major decision makers in the United States have been the target of Saudi hackers.
Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Ambassador to Washington, has been the source of the information which was provided to Saudi intelligence services. Saudi General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) received the information on 2600 major political and American figures as “highly classified” information.
The information was potentially the source to be used by Pegasus, NSO spyware, or other espionage tools.
Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State, Elliot Abrams, former National Security Advisor, and Gina Haspel, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency are among those whose personal information was provided for the GIP.
The document openly confirms that the information is to be used to hack and get access to confidential data about the targets. Getting leverages for future talks, it says, is the major motivation behind the controversial move.
Peter Baker is the current chief White House correspondent for multiple outlets including the New York Times. The investigative journalist also contributes with MSNBC as political analyst. Baker has been Washington Post reporter for over two decades.
The Saudi espionage document may prove debilitating in future politician and security ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Saudi Espionage; Further Details
The leaked document by Peter Baker indicates that Saudi ambassador provided the GIP with Name, ID number, occupation and addresses. Besides, the information contains the teams, parties, various phone numbers, recent two-year meetings, phone calls and emails of the targets.
The embassy obtained the information through unknown hackers in the dark web. It provided a ground for getting access to further, more private and significant, information.
In return, the embassy called for more private information of the 2600 figures. This includes important files, private photos, phone texts, calls history, saved media, passwords, and other data saved by the applications.
Baker explains that the Department of State called for accountability and immediate explanation concerning the Saudi espionage attempt. Riyadh remained silent so far, potentially assessing the consequences of various scenarios. ” Perhaps crisis control and cover-up buy Riyadh some time to remedy this matter and even prevent the international security scandal,” Peter Baker asserted in his website post.
The American journalist believes that most names in the Saudi list are vulnerable characters. Baker explains that the figures potentially have had financial transactions with the Saudi embassy in form of bribery. As such, they might easily have, and will, compromised on US national security interests.
Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan referred to Pegasus as the main tool of espionage in his letter to the GIP. Saudi Arabia has a history of using the NSO malware against activists and journalists.
Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post journalist who was murdered and dismembered in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, was among the main targets. Recent information confirmed that Khashoggi was subject to infiltrations by Pegasus months before assassination.
The new leaked document might lead to a security and political crisis. Recent US-Qatar ties, considering Qatar-Saudi rivalry, might be illuminating.