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NEW YORK, NY (May 29, 2024) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) published a new report, “Infiltrating America: How the United Arab Emirates Launched an Unprecedented Political Interference Campaign in the United States,” as part of its Combating Kleptocracy program.


For years, one dictatorship has overseen one of the most successful political influence and infiltration operations the United States has ever seen: the United Arab Emirates. From illicit lobbying to infiltration of the White House, from secret funding of American think tanks to high-level donations to American universities, from the recruitment of US military officials to the hiring of American hackers, the UAE has executed one of the most impressive and effective political influence and infiltration operations in the US to date. And for years, they’ve escaped attention — until now.

“While much attention has rightly focused on places like Russia and China, the greatest influence and infiltration effort in the US has been overseen by a different dictatorship entirely: the UAE,” Casey Michel, the director of HRF’s Combating Kleptocracy Program, said. 

“From fleets of PR firms to illicit lobbying campaigns, from massive donations to leading think tanks and universities to secretly hiring some of the US’s most prominent former military officers, our new report highlights just how far the UAE has gone in launching its influence and infiltration campaign. Rather than a supposedly benign partner, the UAE’s campaign has gone far beyond what other dictatorships have ever attempted — and created a model that other dictatorships are eager to follow.” 

HRF’s report exposes the UAE’s influence and infiltration operations and provides an unprecedented look at how the Emirati dictatorship has created a playbook that other autocracies are eager to follow. At last, Americans will have a clear picture of the broad spectrum of the UAE’s efforts and what is at stake. 

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

HRF’s Combating Kleptocracy program reveals how corrupt actors worldwide use their illicit finances to undermine democracy and strengthen authoritarianism. Learn more.

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