By Ellen Nakashima, Tom Hamburger and Karen DeYoung,
A prominent Republican fundraiser and longtime supporter of President Trump sued the country of Qatar on Monday, alleging it engaged in a sophisticated information warfare campaign against him to smear his name in the United States and abroad.
The fundraiser, Elliott Broidy, alleged that the Qatari government hacked his email accounts and, through U.S.-based lobbyists, leaked stolen and forged material to U.S. and foreign journalists.
The move is Broidy’s counterpunch to a recent stream of negative news stories that have relied in part on the hacked emails to explore various individuals’ alleged efforts to exploit their access to Trump to affect foreign policy and peddle influence.
“We believe the evidence is clear that a nation state is waging a sophisticated disinformation campaign against me in order to silence me, including hacking emails, forging documents, and engaging in espionage and numerous other illegal activities,” said Broidy. “We believe it is also clear that I have been targeted because of my strong political views against Qatar’s state sponsored terrorism and double dealing.”
He is framing the case as a “hostile intelligence operation” undertaken by a foreign nation on U.S. territory against U.S. citizens — including himself and his wife, Robin Rosenzweig — who have charged that Qatar is a state sponsor of terrorism.
The lawsuit lays bare how information warfare is not just waged between states but is used by states against individuals and has now invaded the murky world of American politics and political lobbying.
Broidy filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles, where his firm, Broidy Capital Management, is based. He is seeking damages to be determined by the court.
Broidy alleges that Qatar supports terrorists and last year launched a multimillion dollar public relations campaign to hide its ties to, and financial support of, groups including al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood — in order to change its image in the United States.
“We believe Qatar has engaged in cyberattacks aimed at a U.S. citizen on American soil seemingly because of their perceived political influence and their outspoken opposition to Qatar’s support and sponsorship of terrorists,” said Lee Wolosky, Broidy’s lawyer. “The Broidys are victims of a sophisticated effort to damage their reputations and relationships. Through this lawsuit, we intend not only to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions but also to remedy falsehoods that have been disseminated to media organizations regarding Mr. Broidy and Ms. Rosenzweig.”