An Associated Press investigation discovered that a former CIA agent who spied on Qatar’s opponents to help the country win this year’s World Cup is now under FBI review as newly obtained records reveal he offered covert services that went beyond football to try to influence U.S. policy.
According to two people with knowledge of the investigation who asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak, the months-long FBI investigation is focused on determining whether Kevin Chalker’s work for Qatar violated any laws relating to foreign lobbying, surveillance, and exporting sensitive technologies and tradecraft. According to the AP, Chalker’s objective was to discredit critics who had charged the Persian Gulf monarchy of funding terrorists and other misdeeds while enhancing Qatar’s reputation among American decision-makers. The influence operations of Qatar, particularly those allegedly involving former U.S. national security officials, have come under increased attention from federal investigators in recent years. A recent AP analysis based on internal Global Risk Advisors records and interviews with Chalker’s allies reveals that a large portion of Chalker’s efforts over the years has been directed toward attempting to increase Qatar’s influence in the United States.This includes attempting to arrange high-level meetings between Qatari officials and key CIA officials and proposing a massive covert influence effort to harm the reputations of U.S. officials thought to be adversaries of Qatar.