Swiss media has reported on what is described as a “large-scale and long-standing intelligence operation” sponsored by Qatar and targeting FIFA officials to prevent Qatar from losing the World Cup. According to the Swissinfo report:
November 2, 2022 Qatar orchestrated a large-scale and long-standing intelligence operation against FIFA officials with the help of former CIA operatives. Switzerland was a key theatre of operations. The highest echelons of the Qatari government were involved. An espionage network working in secret. Intelligence agents planning on swaying world events in a covert operation. Hackers stealing controversial information. And an obscure client funding the entire project with hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the story of a global secret operation. An investigation by Swiss media SRF’s investigative team, “SRF Investigativ”, shows the details of how the state of Qatar had officials of world football spied on. And how critics of the upcoming World Cup outside of FIFA were targeted as well. The ultimate goal of those efforts: to prevent Qatar from losing the World Cup bid after massive criticism was raised, when FIFA awarded the tournament to the authoritarian country in 2010. The scale of the espionage activities is considerable. One sub-operation alone involved the planned deployment of at least 66 operatives over nine years. The budget amounted to $387 million. And the activities spanned five continents. The highest echelons of the Qatari government were involved in the espionage activities, including the current head of state, the Emir of Qatar. The documents show that the desert country wanted to make sure that no change of position within FIFA, no new friendship, no potentially dangerous alliance, nothing that could jeopardise Qatar’s holding the 2022 World Cup could slip their attention. The goal was to gain absolute control. Or “worldwide penetration”, as it is referred to in a document of the espionage operation.
The report goes on to identify Global Risk Advisors (GRA), founded by former CIA official Kevin Chalker as the firm which carried out the operation, titled “Project Merciless:”
To do this, Qatar hired American private firm: Global Risk Advisors (GRA). The company’s staff consists of former members of US intelligence agencies; its founder is former CIA operative Kevin Chalker. Switzerland was a key venue in the operation. The chief spy and his Qatari clients met in Zurich. And Switzerland is where they spied on various individuals. Thus, presumably, crimes were committed by order of Qatar. Chalker denies all allegations. The state of Qatar did not respond to questions. Shortly after SRF had contacted them, the Emir of Qatar complained about a “campaign” against his country in a public speech. The SRF investigation found that victims were at the mercy of the agents spying on them. Their email accounts, computers, phones, friends, and even family members became targets of Qatar’s shadow warriors.
Read the rest here.