Exclusive: Alleged Qatar spy operation said to have targeted GOP lawmakers opposed to Muslim Brotherhood

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JERUSALEM – The oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar hired a former CIA agent’s company to discredit Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and other lawmakers who oppose Hamas  and its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, according to documents obtained by Fox News Digital.

The documents reveal that the alleged Qatar state-funded espionage campaign targeted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, because he sought to have the Muslim Brotherhood designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The clandestine document, titled “Project ENDGAME” and drafted by U.S. company Global Risk Advisors (GRA), which was founded by the ex-CIA employee Kevin Chalker, reads, “High Alert: An attack on Hamas is an attack on Qatar. An attack on the Muslim Brotherhood is an attack on Qatar.”

The March 2017 Qatari-funded plan of action to torpedo anti-Hamas and anti-Muslim Brotherhood legislation and policies noted that “Sen. Ted Cruz has reintroduced his bill to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Unless you act soon, your enemies will inject Qatar into this fight.”

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Sens. Tom Cotton (left) and Ted Cruz (right)

Sens. Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz were allegedly targeted by the Qatar state-funded espionage. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Fox News Digital)

In the month before Qatar reportedly started its attacks on adversaries of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, Fox News Digital reported on Cruz’s legislation to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since Hamas massacred some 1,200 people on October 7 in southern Israel, including more than 30 Americans, Qatar has been in the crosshairs of U.S. senators and some U.S. representatives for harboring Hamas leaders in Doha and allegedly financing it.

Cruz told Fox News Digital: “The Qatari government spends uncountable billions of dollars promoting and even funding the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terrorist groups. They have either bought or intimidated huge parts of Washington, D.C., into silence. It’s not at all surprising they would consider the few remaining outspoken opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood in Congress to be Qatar’s enemies. It is long past time for the U.S. to reevaluate the U.S.-Qatari relationship.”

Hamas has declared itself as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” American allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have either outlawed or designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. 

The “Project ENDGAME” proposal says, “Qatar’s Enemies Must Be Identified” and, “In the U.S., your enemies operate in the shadows. You can’t stop the enemies that you can’t find.”

The existence of the Qatar-sponsored “Project ENDGAME” was first reported in an AP article titled “FBI probing ex-CIA officer’s spying for World Cup host Qatar,” in 2022.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla, co-sponsored the bill to sanction the Muslim Brotherhood in 2017. Global Risk Advisors marked Diaz-Balart as one of the Gulf state’s enemies, according to the Congressman and AP.

Diaz-Balart told Fox News Digital, “The revelation that the Qatari government not only targeted my office but two sitting U.S. senators is not surprising and only validates my longstanding concerns with the Qatari government. This is not the first time a regime has targeted my office using covert tactics and it will not dissuade my resolve to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.”

A former employee of GRA who obtained the “Project ENDGAME” document from the company’s office in Doha told Fox News Digital that Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family, via GRA, aimed to also discredit Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas.

Cotton’s view that the secular ruler of Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, is a more reliable American ally than the former Muslim Brotherhood regime under the late President Mohamed Morsi might have played a role in Qatar’s including the senator on its ideological hit list.

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When asked about GRA’s offensive spy operation against Cotton, a spokesperson for the senator told Fox News Digital that “Senator Cotton will not be commenting on this at this time.”

Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., who has broad expertise regarding Qatar’s power politics, told Fox News Digital, “As a member of Congress, I will continue to use my office to hold Qatar accountable. Qatar must be exposed and their years-long hacking campaign to silence critics not just of Qatar but also critics of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas cannot go unchecked.”

Bergman, a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general, added, “If the Qataris are willing to use their state espionage capabilities to protect terrorist groups by targeting senators and the [former] chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, then how can we be confident in the security of our servicemen and women—and our secrets—at CENTCOM’s forward headquarters in Doha?”

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The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has approximately 8,000 personnel at Al Udeid Air Base—the largest American military base in the Middle East—southwest of Doha.

Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Royce, R-Calif., did not respond to Fox News Digital WhatsApp messages and a phone call.

When asked about the reported Qatari state-financed espionage operation against American politicians and citizens, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “We refer you to the FBI regarding any potential investigation.”

The FBI told Fox News Digital, “The FBI has no comment. We can neither confirm nor deny conducting specific investigations.”

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Reps. Mario Diaz (left) and Jack Bergman (left)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla, co-sponsored the bill to sanction the Muslim Brotherhood in 2017 and Rep. Jack Bergman plans to continue to hold Qatar accountable. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Kevin Carroll, the lawyer representing Kevin Chalker, wrote Fox News Digital, “What I do know and can speak about is that there are NO pending indictments against Mr. Chalker or any employees of GRA.”

He continued, “Instead, Mr. Chalker and GRA have been subjected to civil complaints filed in federal courts in California and Washington, D.C., since 2018. The case in California has been dismissed. The plaintiffs’ third complaint in the New York case has seen several of the original claims and defendants dismissed.

“Mr. Chalker has a long-standing record of service to the United States and any allegations of wrongdoing—much less defamatory allegations of criminal wrongdoing—by him or GRA are just false,” Carroll said.

Fox News Digital reviewed a 2023 email written by Chalker, in which he said the FBI showed up unannounced at the residences of former GRA employees. He advised his employees to state they are represented by legal counsel and assured his workers that GRA will pay for the attorney fees. 

Chalker also ridiculed the FBI, stating, “I have zero respect for the FBI. They are a bunch of Keystone Cops who are poorly trained, inadequately educated…”

Carroll suggested that Fox News Digital should not report on Chalker and GRA. In a series of emails, he wrote, “I’d lean back from the story” and, “I would not run with the story about Chalker and GRA. Can explain by phone.”

When reached on the phone, Caroll refused to go on the record as to why he opposed publication of the new allegations against Chalker and GRA.

Chalker declined to be interviewed by Fox New Digital. A press query was sent to his new company, Qrypt- a technology firm that claims to have “built the only cryptographic solution capable of securing data indefinitely.”

BIDEN ADMIN ‘UNEQUIVOCALLY’ CONDEMNS TERROR GROUP HAMAS, SAYS US ‘STANDS WITH ISRAEL’

Capitol building exteriors

Qatar surveilled U.S. members of Congress to advance its pro-Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Hamas agenda. (Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital reviewed an April, 2017 signed letter of intent between the Qatar’s regime and GRA. According to the letter, GRW would furnish the Al-Thani family with “enhanced tracking and monitoring, intelligence collection, predictive intelligence, information operations.” The AP also confirmed the letter of intent in its 2022 report. 

The AP noted that GRW would provide Qatar’s state with “other spy services for $60 million over three years. Other records show a Gibraltar-based company owned by Chalker began receiving seven- and eight-figure payments from Qatar shortly afterward.” Fox News Digital reviewed the financial records of the Gibraltar company reportedly owned by Chalker and cited in the AP report.

Chalker and GRA in “Project ENDGAME” also zoomed in on the American organization Counter Extremism Project (CEP) in an effort to “Mitigate Attacks” against Qatar.

Former U.S. Ambassador Mark Wallace, the CEO of the Counter Extremist Project, told Fox News Digital that after the Qatari operation “hacked accounts that contained email correspondence with members of CEP leadership, they engaged in a PR campaign to destroy us and paid Americans to do their bidding. All to whitewash their support of Hamas in the face of our criticism. We have called out their support of Hamas since 2017.”

In November, Middle East experts told Fox News Digital that the Obama-era deal to allow Hamas terrorists to reside in Doha backfired against American interests.

Wallace said the “The greatest prevarication of the duplicitous Al Thanis is that they did not know what their money would be used for. But they knew from 2017 and our loud public campaign and they used their hydrocarbon wealth to whitewash their insidious support for Hamas and others. They are responsible.Any American that worked for Qataris to whitewash their behavior and to silence critics should raise their hands before the mirror because their hands are covered with blood.”

Wallace revealed an alleged attempt by Qatar to bribe an American. 

Wallace claimed that “Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ) and his Al Thani deputy asked to meet our colleague Joe Lieberman in the midst of this dispute — they made it clear that he should name his price and they would pay it to stop this effort. He made the wise decision and politely declined.” Joe Lieberman was a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut, and a Democratic candidate for vice-president.

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On the other side of the Atlantic, Qatar is accused of bribing members of the European parliament. “The State of Qatar categorically rejects any attempts to associate it with accusations of misconduct. Any association of the Qatari government with the reported claims is baseless and gravely misinformed,” an official with the Qatari Embassy in Washington, D.C., previously told Fox News Digital.

HBJ was the former Prime Minister of Qatar and has faced criticism last year after it was revealed that he  issued an antisemitic statement to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas in 2022, stating “Imagine oil [was sold] by some Jews…what would be the price of a barrel of oil? It would be the most expensive thing in the world. It would be more precious than anything, like medicine.”

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Qatari man waving Qatar flag, dark red and white, other Qatari man sitting and giving peace signs

The “Project ENDGAME” proposal laid out a plan for Qatar to advance its agenda.  (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

When questioned about “Project ENDGAME” and other allegations against Qatar, Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the United States, wrote Fox News Digital via WhatsApp, “will connect you with our media attaché who will be able to assist. Please reach out to Ali Al Ansari at the above email.”

Fox News Digital press queries sent to Al Ansari went unanswered. Qatar’s embassies in Berlin and London also declined to comment. Meshal Al Thani refused to answer follow-up Fox News Digital press queries.

The “Project ENDGAME” proposal also laid out a media strategy for Qatar to advance its agenda. “Many news organizations won’t publish ENDGAME content, so Qatar’s media’s assets play a critical role.” Some of the alleged Qatari media assets listed in the document are The New York Times, Middle East Eye and The Intercept.

The Middle East Eye’s legal team told Fox News Digital, “Our view is that this is an old, tired, lazy and false contention. We are an independently funded digital news organisation.”

The Middle East Eye said Jamal Bessasso is the owner of the news outlet. Bessasso previously worked for the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news organization and the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV in Lebanon.

Numerous Fox News Digital press queries sent to The Intercept went unanswered. 

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Pro-Palestine protestors march with signs and Palestine flag

Hamas has declared itself as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” ( Laith Al-jnaidi/Anadolu via Getty Images)

New York Times spokesman Charles Stadtlander asked Fox News Digital via WhatsApp to send its questions by email for a response. The New York Times declined to comment to multiple Fox News Digital Email press queries.

A document provided to Fox News Digital from a source familiar with the New York Times’ relationship with Qatar noted that Qatar is a minority owner of the New York Times building in Manhattan via its control over Brookfield Property Partners. The New York Times declined to comment on Qatar’s partial ownership of its building.

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