Report: National Security Experts On CNN Have Undisclosed Ties To Qatar

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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Three national security experts who reportedly have direct ties to the Qatari government, an oppressive regime that funds terror, frequently appear on CNN to opine on Middle Eastern affairs.

CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem and frequent network guests Mehdi Hassan and Ali Soufan routinely comment on Israeli, Saudi or United Arab Emirates affairs without disclosing the fact that they have financial ties to Qatar, according to a new report from Conservative Review. (RELATED: Experts Say Qatar’s ‘Influence War’ Underscores Need For Greater Transparency)

Kayyem, who is on contract with the network, is described in he biography as a board member of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS). The ICSS is “70% funded by the Qatar government,” according to president Mohammed Hanzab in 2016.

The Guardian savaged the organization that same year for claiming to support “transparency” in international bids for sporting events while taking the majority of their funding from Qatar, who is accused of perpetuating severe human rights offenses in order to build venues for the events.

Kayyem attacked Conservative Review’s reporting on Tuesday, asserting that she has “never worked for Qatar government” and has “no Middle East clients.” She did not address the fact that she is on the board of a Qatari-funded organization, instead calling the report a “pathetic hit job.”

Hasan, a regular CNN guest, is a host of multiple shows on the Al Jazeera network, a state-media network controlled by Qatar. In March 2018, 19 members of Congress claimed in a letter to the Department of Justice that Al Jazeera’s content goes directly against American interests and provides positive coverage to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

David Reaboi wrote for the Security Studies Group in March 2019:

By promoting Mr. Hasan, these cable news outlets are facilitating the insertion of foreign propaganda into the American political debate. But the government he represents — to millions of unsuspecting American viewers — has long promoted the Muslim Brotherhood, funds the bloodthirsty designated terror group Hamas, has helped al Qaeda and the Taliban fundraise, and is relentlessly hostile to American interests.

Soufan has perhaps the most obvious connection to Qatar — he is the executive director of the regime-funded Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS). The Wall Street Journal claims that Soufan has a personal relationship with Qatari leadership.

Interestingly, the former president of QIASS, Mohammed Hanzab, is now the president of the ICSS — of which Kayyem is a board member.

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE (4:37 PM):

A CNN source disputed the Daily Caller’s characterization of Kayyem’s work with the ICSS.

“She WAS on the board of International Center for Sports Security, an organization promoting best practices for the safety of sporting events, which included senior leaders from the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. That contract ENDED several years ago,” the source said, adding that Kayyem’s salary does not come from the Qatar government.

CNN’s website currently lists Kayyem as a board member of the ICSS. The ICSS website is not currently active.

The headline of this article has been updated to clarify Hassan and Soufan’s roles with the network.

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